Independent team to probe soccer stampede tragedy
Indonesia on Monday set up an independent team to investigate a stampede at a soccer stadium that killed 125 people, including 32 children, as the country’s human rights commission questioned the police use of tear gas.
Panic-stricken spectators were crushed as they tried to escape the overpacked stadium in Malang, East Java, on Saturday after police fired tear gas to disperse fans from the losing home side Arema FC who ran onto the pitch at the end of the domestic league match against Persebaya of Surabaya.
At least 32 of the victims were children aged between 3 and 17 years, Nahar, an official at the women’s empowerment and child protection ministry, told Reuters. The official had earlier put the death toll of children at 17.
Indonesia’s chief security minister Mahfud MD said the government would form an independent fact-finding team, including academics, soccer experts and government officials, to probe what happened.
The team will aim to find out who was responsible for the tragedy over the next few days, he said.
The government will provide 50 million rupiah ($3,268) in compensation to each of victims’ families, while hundreds more, who were injured, will be treated for free, he added.
Police and sports officials have been sent to Malang to investigate what is one of the world’s deadliest stadium disasters. President Joko Widodo ordered the football association to suspend all Liga 1 matches until the investigation is complete.
Fifa, the governing body for world soccer, says in its safety regulations that firearms or “crowd control gas” should not be used at matches.
“If there hadn’t been any tear gas maybe there wouldn’t have been chaos,” Choirul Anam, a commissioner at Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights, known as Komnas HAM, told a news briefing on Monday.
In 1964, 328 people were killed in a crush when Peru hosted Argentina at the Estadio Nacional in Lima.
In a 1989 British disaster, 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death when an overcrowded and fencedin enclosure collapsed at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.
Violence has long been a feature of Indonesian football but the scale of Saturday’s disaster has left the small community numb.
A tearful Arema FC president Gilang Widya Pramana said he was ready to take “full responsibility” for the events.
Madrid: Karim Benzema missed a late penalty as Real Madrid dropped their first points this season after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Osasuna, who had a man sent-off late on, in the La Liga on Sunday.
Vinicius Jr gave the champions the lead just before halftime but the visitors equalised through Kike Garcia, who scored with a brilliant header from the edge of the area.
Benzema fired his penalty off the bar and over in the 79th minute, after being fouled inside the area by defender Unai Garcia, who was shown a straight red card after a VAR check.
The France striker had a goal chalked off a minute later for offside.