Indonesian stadium to be demolished after stampede killed 133

PHOTO: The stadium in Indonesia where a stampede killed 133 people is set to be torn down. (via News 18)

It has been announced that the Indonesian football stadium will be demolished after it became the venue of one of the deadliest tragedies ever to occur in a sports stadium. The pandemonium cost 133 people their lives at the beginning of this month, causing Indonesian President Joko Widodo to announce plans to tear down the stadium and rebuild it to FIFA international standards.

The tragedy took place in the Eastern Java city of Malang, at the Kanjuruhan Stadium. When supporters of Arema FC flooded the field, two police officers were killed in the mayhem. The police fired tear gas into the crowd to disperse them, which in turn created chaos that evolved into a stampede. Over 40 children were included in the list of victims who died from the stampede.

Indonesia has long struggled with violence and calamity in its football matches. It dates back to the 1990s. Experts say potential fiery passion overflowing into violence can be attributed in part to bottlenecking at Indonesian stadium exits which can leave people waiting for hours to get out. Mismanagement and an unstable infrastructure bear a lot of blame for matches turning violent and deadly.

But the poorly designed exit flow was an issue in this latest stampede. The stadium was completed and opened in 2004 and held 42,000 Indonesian fans. Some of the exit gates remained locked as people desperately fled the tear gas and tried to get out of the stadium.

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The gates in the stadium that were open are only wide enough to allow two people at a time to pass through. To illustrate, if there was only one gate and people passed through quickly in just one second, it would take 5.8 hours for everyone to get out. The number of exits to the stadium is unclear, but obviously, the flow of pedestrian traffic was heavily impeded at the gates, contributing to the massive death toll.

Now, the Indonesian president promised to rebuild the stadium “with proper facilities that can ensure the safety of both players and supporters.” Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, has committed the organization to aid football reform in Indonesia.

“What I can guarantee to all the people of Indonesia: FIFA is here with you, FIFA is here to stay, FIFA is here to work in a very close partnership with the government, with the Asian Football Confederation and with the federation of Indonesia.”

World News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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