Indonesia to demolish soccer stadium where stampede killed over 130

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Indonesia will demolish and rebuild a football stadium where a stampede killed more than 130 people this month, President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday as he vowed to “thoroughly transform” the sport in the soccer-mad nation.

The president, popularly known as Jokowi, was speaking to reporters at the state palace after meeting Gianni Infantino, head of the world soccer governing body FIFA. “Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang […] we will demol-ish it and rebuild according to FIFA standards,” he said.

The deadly stampede after a league match in the city of Malang on Oct 1 has been blamed on police firing tear gas in the stadium, a crowd control measure banned by FIFA.

The president said he had agreed with Infantino on significant changes to how the sport was managed in Indonesia.

“We agreed to thoroughly transform Indonesian soccer,” he said. “Every aspect of preparation…needs to be based on FIFA standards.”

The meeting between Jokowi and Infantino comes 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 Southeast Asian nation.

“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 the president with a red FIFA jersey with his name printed across it, said the global soccer body would work closely with the government to ensure all stadiums met safety re-quirements, and that the Under-20 World Cup ran smoothly next year.

Under pressure to explain what caused one of the world’s deadliest stadium disasters, a fact-finding team formed by the government released a report last week which concluded that the “excessive” and “indiscriminate” use of tear gas was the leading cause of death.—Reuters

 

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