West News Wire: The government of Indonesia, according to President Joko Widodo, will destroy and rebuild the football stadium where 133 people perished in a stampede earlier this month, making it one of the bloodiest sporting tragedies in history.
After meeting with Gianni Infantino, the head of FIFA, the president, also known as Jokowi, addressed media on Tuesday at the state palace in Jakarta.
Jokowi declared, “We will demolish the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang and reconstruct it in accordance with FIFA standards. He used another term for football and said, “We promised to completely change Indonesian soccer.
On October 1, fans were caught in a deadly crush as they attempted to exit Kanjuruhan Stadium in East Java province’s Malang city after the defeat of the home side Arema FC by Persebaya Surabaya. Many, including more than 40 minors, died of asphyxiation.
Following an investigation, officials concluded in a report published last week that the leading cause behind the incident was the police’s use of tear gas in the stadium a crowd control measure banned by FIFA. The clouds of choking gas triggered the stampede as panicked spectators rushed to exit gates, which several witnesses told that were either locked or blocked by police.
The report also identified other contributing factors, including the stadium being filled beyond capacity, locked exit doors and a push by league officials to hold the game at night to secure better ratings for a local broadcaster, despite a request by police to hold a match between the fierce rivals during the daytime.
Jokowi said he had agreed with Infantino on significant changes to how the sport was managed in Indonesia.
The meeting between the two came after Indonesia and FIFA agreed to form a joint task force in the wake of the stadium tragedy, and as the country prepares to host the Under-20 World Cup next year.
Speaking alongside Jokowi, Infantino said FIFA’s first priority was to ensure the safety of both players and fans in the country.
“This is a football country, a country where football is a passion for over 100 million people,” he said. “We owe it to them that when they see a match they are safe and secure.”
Infantino, who presented Jokowi with a red FIFA jersey with his name on it, said the body would work closely with the government to ensure all stadiums met safety requirements, and that 2023’s Under-20 World Cup ran smoothly.