The firing of tear gas inside a partially sealed stadium triggered a crush at the exits, killing 131 people, including 17 children, according to Indonesia’s president. However, the country won’t be subject to sanctions from the world’s football governing body, he added.
The U-20 World Cup, which will include 24 countries from five continents, will continue to be held in Indonesia, according to Joko Widodo, who said that Giani Infantino, the president of FIFA, wrote to him about potential collaborations between FIFA and Indonesia.
In a video posted late Friday on the presidential office’s YouTube page, Widodo stated, “Based on the letter, thank God, Indonesian football is not sanctioned by FIFA.”
FIFA recommends that exit gates be accessible at all times while a game is in progress and discourages the deployment of tear gas within or surrounding stadiums. Even though these guidelines are seen as safety requirements, domestic or national leagues are exempt from them, and FIFA has no authority over how local officials and police departments manage crowds.
Following a league match between the host Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya on October 1, Widodo claimed that multiple closed gates had contributed to the catastrophe after touring the Kanjuruhan football stadium in Malang city. The stadium lacked a valid operating certificate, according to the national police chief, who also announced on Thursday that six persons, including three police officers, would be facing criminal charges.
The national football association of Indonesia, known locally as PSSI, has historically had difficulty controlling the game domestically.
Gaining the right to host the Under-20 World Cup in 2017 was a significant step in the growth of Indonesian football, increasing expectations that a successful tournament would address long-standing issues that have harmed the sport in the country of more than 277 million people.
On the other hand, the deadly crush serves as a tragic reminder that Indonesia is one of the most dangerous countries to attend sporting events.
The domestic league has been on extended hold since last week. To conduct a thorough investigation into the deadly stadium crush, Widodo has directed the sports minister, the national police chief, and the football federation.
On Friday, he said that the Indonesian government has consented to work with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation to enhance stadium security to prevent another disaster.
Widodo stated that “FIFA, together with the government, will appoint a transformation team for Indonesian football,” adding that Infantino will also be visiting Indonesia soon.
During these processes, he added, FIFA will be based in Indonesia and work to raise safety standards at all football stadiums around the nation, develop security protocols and procedures for the police based on international standards, get input from Indonesian football clubs and fans, and regulate the season calendar using risk-based considerations. He also said FIFA will consult with experts from many fields.