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Indonesian President Joko Widodo orders an audit of the national stadium, while the FIFA boss offers help to solve the country’s football problems

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered a comprehensive audit of stadiums across the country, to ensure compliance with safety and security protocols.

On Wednesday, Mr Widodo also said football’s world governing body FIFA had offered to help his country with its football problems, after speaking to body chief Gianni Infantino about the deadly stampede in the weekend stadium.

In one of the world’s worst football disasters, hundreds of fans were crushed as they tried to flee the crowded stadium in Indonesia’s East Java region on Saturday after police fired tear gas to disperse the agitated supporters of the losing team, Arema FC, who had poured on the ground.

Authorities said at least 131 people died, including 33 minors.

Mr Widodo said MrInfantino had offered his support.

“He said that if necessary, FIFA can help fix the management of Indonesian football,” he said.

“The doors should have been opened”

Two women look through a large blue stadium gate.
Football authorities say the gates were closed but police insist they were open but too small.(Reuters: Willy Kurniawan)

Football is hugely popular in the country of 270 million, where the sport has had its fair share of problems, from hooliganism and brutal policing to mismanagement of events.

Asked earlier about the possibility of FIFA sanctions following the disaster, Mr Widodo said it was up to the sport’s governing body to decide.

FIFA, which called the incident an “incomprehensible tragedy”, has asked the Indonesian football federation for a full report.

Indonesia has set up an investigation team made up of football experts, academics and ministry officials in hopes of exposing the culprits.

Police are investigating dozens of officers for alleged breaches of ethics, and nine have been suspended.

The Indonesian Football Association has permanently suspended the general manager and security coordinator of the team that hosted Saturday’s match, Arema FC, for failing to secure the pitch and promptly issuing an order to unlock the gates.

“The doors should have been opened, but were closed,” said Erwin Tobing, head of the association’s disciplinary committee.

On Wednesday, Mr Widodo said the main problem during the stampede was “locked doors and steep stairs”.

Speaking during a visit to the stadium where the disaster took place, he said he expected a safety assessment of all stadiums in Indonesia to be completed within a month.

The safety standards in question

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Police fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse supporters who had run onto the pitch.

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.

Sources

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2/ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-05/indonesia-president-says-fifa-boss-offered-help-to-fix-country-s/101505736

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