02 October 2022

Football world reacts to disaster at Indonesian stadium

02 October 2022

A minute’s silence was observed before football matches around the world on Sunday in memory of the victims of the disaster at a stadium in Indonesia that claimed at least 125 lives.

Top players, coaches and leagues also sent their condolences and messages of support.

Most of the victims were trampled on or suffocated as chaos erupted following a game between host Arema FC, of East Java’s Malang city, and Persebaya Surabaya on Saturday night.

Witnesses described police officers beating fans with sticks and shields before shooting tear gas canisters directly into the crowds to stop violence but instead triggering a deadly crush.

Indonesia’s football association suspended the top tier Liga 1 indefinitely and banned Arema from hosting matches for the remainder of the season, after one of the biggest tragedies at a sporting event worldwide.

Football leagues observing a minute’s silence in memory of the victims included Spain, Israel and the Netherlands.

In England, Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola talked about the disaster following the Manchester derby in England.

“Terrible. Absolutely terrible. The world is crazy,” he said. “The best thoughts for the family and everything.”

Manchester United coach Ten Hag said it was “really a disaster … We are sad about it and our thoughts are with all the persons and the families and people of Indonesia”.

Both Manchester clubs said they were “deeply saddened” by the tragedy in Indonesia.

“We send our sincere condolences to the victims, their families, and everyone affected,” Man United said.

In Spain, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez called for a minute’s silence during the club’s general assembly.

Barcelona said it was “pained by the tragic events” and rejected “all acts of violence both on and off the field.” Ajax said “there should never be violence at a football match”.

Football leagues also expressed their sadness, including the Premier League, the Italian league and the Spanish league.

In a statement, Fifa president Gianni Infantino offered condolences on behalf of the global football community, saying “the football world is in a state of shock”.

Fifa did not mention in its statement the under-20 World Cup that Indonesia is set to host next year.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin spoke on behalf of European football.

“I would like to express our profound shock and sadness at last night’s appalling events in East Java’s Kanjuruhan stadium,” he said. “Our community sends its sympathy and solidarity to everyone affected by this tragedy.”

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