Indonesian FA, FIFA to launch taskforce following stadium disaster

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FIFA, football’s global governing body, will support a taskforce set up by the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) that will seek to increase public security capacity following the stadium disaster that claimed the lives of 131 football fans earlier this month.

The PSSI met with representatives from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) earlier today (Thursday) following the tragedy at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang on October 1.

The incident occurred during a match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya as fans invaded the pitch and were met with teargas from police. The ensuing panic led to fans rushing towards the stadium’s exits, which caused a crush. Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered an audit of all football stadia in the country following the disaster, and six people were later charged.

Today’s meeting was also attended by government representatives, with PSSI general chair Mochammad Iriawan stating that talks focused on an “initiation of assistance” to transform and advance Indonesian football, rather than an investigation into the disaster.

FIFA’s head of safety and security, Serge Dumortier, attended the meeting, along with Niko Nhouvannasak and Chen Jun, from FIFA’s regional office for Southeast Asia and East Asia.

Iriawan said: “We have agreed to form a taskforce consisting of members/special representatives from PSSI and the Indonesian government with the support of FIFA and AFC for the transformation of Indonesian football and increasing public security capacity, as instructed by President Joko Widodo.”

The PSSI is set to receive assistance from FIFA and the AFC regarding safety and security, as well as stadium infrastructure and public trust in Indonesian football. On October 28, the PSSI will launch a FIFA Football for School programme in Jakarta.

Iriawan added: “We believe that through the joint efforts of all stakeholders, together we will recover stronger to ensure that Indonesia is a safe place for football and capable of hosting major international events.”

Indonesia is due to host the FIFA U20 World Cup next year and FIFA president Gianni Infantino is set to visit Jakarta next week to meet with President Widodo.

Indonesia’s police chief, Listyo Sigit Prabowo, said last week that six people have been charged with negligence causing death. They include three police officers and three people responsible for the match and its security, including the head of Arema FC’s organising committee and one of the club’s security officers.

Prabowo went on to state that two of the police officers under investigation ordered colleagues to fire teargas. The third police officer under investigation is claimed to have known about FIFA’s safety regulations that prohibit the use of crowd control gas at pitchside but did not prevent this being utilised by colleagues. The suspects face a maximum prison sentence of five years if found guilty, and more charges could be forthcoming.

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