174 die in Indonesian stadium stampede, league suspended
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At least 174 people have been killed in a stampede following a riot at a football match in Indonesia between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya, after police fired tear gas to disperse angry fans from the pitch.
The tragedy happened on Saturday night in Malang, were fans of the loosing Arema team, invaded the pitch after the team’s first home defeat by the rival club in 23 years.
Responding to the invasion, the police fired tear gas on the pitch and into the stadium stands which caused panic among the crowd and they began to flee from the exits.
The Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, in a televised broadcast on Al Jazeera monitored by our correspondent, suspended all Liga 1 matches until investigations were concluded.
It is important to note that the international football governing body, FIFA, bans tear gas at football stadiums.
According to reports, some people were suffocated and others trampled as hundreds ran to the exit in a bid to escape the chemical, among which were children.
“I have specially requested the police chief investigates and gets to the bottom of this case. Furthermore, I have also ordered the Indonesian Football Association to temporarily halt all Liga 1 matches until improvements to the safety procedure have been concluded.
“I regret this tragedy and I hope that it is the last to occur in Indonesian football. We cannot have this anymore. Sportmanship, humanity and brotherhood of the nation should be upheld together.” Widodo said