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Football officials jailed over Indonesian stadium disaster

Featured image credit: Nick Agus Arya on Unsplash

Two football officials have been handed prison sentences for their role in last year’s stadium disaster in Indonesia, which killed 135 people.

The disaster occurred during a stampede at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang on October 1 as Arema FC faced Persebaya Surabaya. The stampede occurred as fans invaded the pitch before being met with tear gas from police, with the ensuing panic leading to fans rushing towards the stadium’s exits, which caused a crush.

In January, five men were faced trial for their role in the disaster and two people have today (Thursday) been jailed. The BBC reports that Abdul Haris, chairman of the organising committee at Arema FC, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, while the club’s security officer, Suko Sutrisno, also received a one-year sentence.

According to CNN, Haris was found guilty of negligence and sold too many tickets for the match, while Sutrisno had only been in the role for three months and had not received the necessary training. Relatives of fans who were killed during the disaster had been pushing for six-year sentences.

The match at the 42,000-capacity stadium was a home fixture for Arema FC, and visiting Persebaya Surabaya supporters were banned from attending due to previous trouble between both sets of fans.

The two individuals have been sentenced today after it was ruled that Arema FC did not put in place adequate safety measures. Three police officers are also on trial for their role in the disaster, while a former director of the Indonesian league’s organising body remains under police investigation.

In the days after the disaster, six individuals were charged with negligence causing death. Indonesian President Joko Widodo also ordered an audit of all football stadiums in the country.

Indonesian club football was suspended following the disaster and only resumed behind closed doors in December. President Widodo has said that the stadium will be demolished and rebuilt according to FIFA standards as part of plans to “thoroughly transform” Indonesian football.

With the support of FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation, the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) set up a taskforce to increase public security capacity following the disaster.

Indonesia is scheduled to host the FIFA U20 World Cup this year and FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said the tournament will go ahead as scheduled.

Posted in Asia | LegalTagged |