Indonesian task force wants FA boss to resign over stadium stampede

The task force investigating a stadium tragedy that killed 132 people in Indonesia has called on the head of the country’s football association to resign, a senior minister said on Friday. After a match between home team Arema FC and rivals Persebaya Surabaya on October 1 in the city of Malang, East Java, a stampede broke out, sparked when police fired tear gas at packed stands. An investigative team was deployed as anger mounted at the police response after 132 people, including dozens of children, died and many were killed in a scrum as they rushed to small exits.

“Technically the government cannot intervene in PSSI, but in a country built on morals, ethics and great culture, it is recommended that the PSSI chief and all Executive Committee members resign as a form of accountability,” the statement said Report handed to President Joko Widodo said, citing the Football Association.

The 124-page report was released after Indonesia’s top security minister, Mahfud MD, held a press conference in which he said the association, known by its Indonesian acronym PSSI, should take responsibility for the disaster.

Rights groups and survivors told AFP police used excessive force to respond to a pitch invasion, while experts on Indonesian football said the country’s most popular sport had been mismanaged by officials at all levels for decades.

Mahfud said the incident was more harrowing than previously known based on CCTV footage from 32 cameras reviewed by the team.

“We discovered the fact that the situation – in which many victims fell – was much more terrifying than what was seen on TV or social media,” he said Friday after meeting Widodo.

In response to the disaster, Widodo suspended all football matches pending the investigation and ordered a security review of all stadiums.

Mahfud also blamed other football stakeholders, including Arema FC, on Friday, accusing them of negligence.

“We also found that the interest groups have evaded their responsibilities, they have all taken refuge under the regulations and contracts that are technically legal,” he said.

The investigative team also suggested that the PSSI revise its regulations to eliminate any potential conflict of interest between the police and the association.

The current head of the association Mochammad Iriawan is the former police chief of the capital Jakarta.

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At least six people, including three police officers, have been charged in the fatal incident.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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