Indonesian police violated FIFA guidelines by using tear gas to quell fights at a soccer stadium Sunday, triggering a massive stampede that killed at least 125 people and injured more than 320.
World soccer’s governing body specifically prohibits “firearms or ‘crowd control gas’… carried or used” to maintain order at a game — which local officials contradicted with deadly consequences.
Police shot tear gas at the crowd when angry supporters of the losing team flooded the field after the final whistle, and fights erupted between opposing sides.
In the chaos, fans were trampled to death instantly, while others suffocated. Others died on their way to the hospital.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement the stampede was a “dark day for all involved” and said the soccer world was “in a state of shock.”
FIFA demanded the Indonesian soccer league, known as PSSI, investigate and report its findings to the global organization.
Amnesty International’s Indonesia division also condemned the tear gassing, stating the “use of excessive force by the state … to contain or control such crowds cannot be justified at all.”
It remains unclear if Indonesian police knew that using tear gas violated the soccer organization’s rules. What actions will be taken against the Indonesian soccer league by FIFA are unknown. The country of 275 million people is supposed to host the 2023 FIFA under-20 World Cup.
The match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya took place in Kanjuruhan Stadium, in Malang in East Java; the stampede erupted just after the game’s final whistle blew around 10 p.m. local time.
An Indonesian security official said the stadium — meant to hold 38,000 — was packed beyond capacity, with 42,000 tickets issued for the game.
With Post wires.