Delays in opening the gates of an Indonesian football stadium after violence erupted at the end of a match contributed to a disaster in which at least 131 people died, the national football association said on Tuesday. soccer.
The Indonesian Football Association said it had permanently banned the managing director and security coordinator of the team that hosted Saturday’s match, Arema FC, for failing to secure the pitch and promptly issued an order for unlock the doors.
“The doors should have been opened, but were closed,” said Erwin Tobing, head of the association’s disciplinary committee.
Due to a lack of workers, only a few people were ordered to open the gates, and they had not yet reached some doors when onlookers began rushing to escape tear gas fired by police in an attempt to control fans who had entered the pitch, the association said spokesman Ahmad Riyad.
He said all doors should be unlocked 10 minutes before the end of a game. But on Saturday, seven minutes after the referee’s final whistle, several doors were still locked, contributing to the toll of one of the world’s deadliest sporting disasters.
Police, however, continued to insist on Tuesday that the gates were open but were too narrow and could only fit two people at a time as hundreds tried to escape.
According to FIFA and Asian Football Confederation recommendations, stadium exits must be unlocked at all times during a match for security reasons. These rules do not necessarily apply to state or national leagues, but are nonetheless a safety standard, as is the recommendation against the use of tear gas as a crowd control measure.
Photos from Malang Stadium showed four interconnecting door panels forming a gate. There were 14 gates in total.
Police said their investigation focused on video footage from surveillance cameras at six of the 14 gates where most of the victims died.
“For those six doors, they weren’t closed but they were too small. They had a capacity for two people but there were hundreds coming out. There was a crush there,” the doorman said. word of police Dedi Prasetyo to reporters. He added that the gates were the responsibility of the organizers.
Most of the deaths occurred when riot police fired tear gas and drove fans into a panicked, chaotic race for the exits. Police acted after some of Arema’s 42,000 supporters stormed onto the pitch in anger after their side lost 3-2, their first home loss to visiting Persebaya Surabaya in 23 years.
On Monday, police announced they had sacked a chief constable and nine elite officers, and 18 others were being investigated for responsibility for firing tear gas inside the stadium.
Some survivors said some of the exit doors were locked and they were unable to escape. Most of them specifically mentioned Gate 13.
“People tried to run away after tear gas was fired. My group got separated from each other,” said Prasetyo Pujiono, a 32-year-old farmer from Malang who watched the match with friends near door 13.
“People couldn’t stay inside the stadium anymore. We wanted to escape but the gate was closed. That’s why most people died of being trampled or suffocated,” he said. “I remember them screaming that they couldn’t breathe and their eyes were hurting.”
Those trying to escape eventually broke through the wall next to Gate 13, leaving behind a large hole with scribbled graffiti that read, “Goodbye my brothers and sisters. 01-10-2022.
Hundreds of Arema supporters and local residents have been paying tribute to the victims at gates 13 and 12 since Monday. They prayed together, laid rose petals, bouquets of flowers and placed several Arema scarves around the doors.
Pujianto said he moved more than 20 bodies scattered around Gate 13.
“Poor of them. So many bodies were strewn around Gate 13. We couldn’t have gotten out if we hadn’t moved them. So my friends and I carried them to the field,” he said .
Evita Triawardani, a 26-year-old Arema supporter, said that at every game she attended, the organizers usually opened the gates 15 to 20 minutes before the game was over. But that Saturday night, she said gate 13 was locked. She ran out of the stadium through Gate 14, which she said was open.
She said she saw people crying and gasping in clouds of tear gas, and parents holding their children above their shoulders so they could breathe. At least 17 children were among the dead.
The Indonesian Football Association has announced that it has banned Arema from hosting any matches attended by its fans in Malang until next year following Saturday’s disaster.
Tobing said Arema chief executive Abdul Harris and security coordinator Suko Sutrisno were banned from participating in football for life because they failed to secure the pitch and delayed the opening of the stadium. doors.