Indonesia Soccer Tragedy: President Orders National Stadium Audit

Photo: AFP [via Al Jazeera]

The Facts

  • On Wednesday, Indonesia's Pres. Joko Widodo ordered an audit of all soccer stadiums in the country amid an ongoing investigation into one of the deadliest stampedes that took place on Saturday during a soccer match at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java. The announcement comes as Widodo is currently visiting victims.

  • The national soccer association argues that delays in unlocking the gates contributed to the disaster. A police investigation, however, suggests that doors were opened, but exits were too narrow, allegedly accommodating just two people at a time.

The Spin

Narrative A

This tragedy isn't an accident but a grave crime. If the police hadn't over-responded to the playing field surge by fans, this bloodbath wouldn't have occurred. An independent investigation will ensure that the truth will come out – preventing police cover-ups – and those responsible will be held accountable.

Narrative B

This is a deeper structural problem in Indonesia. Though needed, investigating police actions and holding those responsible accountable isn't enough. Police aren't equipped or trained to deal properly with soccer crowds, despite fans having an infamously violent culture. On top of that, Indonesia's sports facilities lack standard security protocols. A deeper review needs to happen.

Articles on this story

Sign up to our daily newsletter