President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday (Oct 5) that locked doors, steep stairs and crowd panic may have contributed to the football match stampede that has so far resulted in the deaths of at least 131 people.
Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, visited Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java where the tragedy happened after Arema FC lost on its home ground against rival Persebaya Surabaya on Saturday night.
After the final whistle was blown, thousands of Arema fans invaded the pitch to vent their frustration for the loss.
Police and military officials guarding the match responded by firing tear gas canisters, which ran against security protocol set by football’s governing body FIFA. This led to a deadly stampede.
The central government has formed an ad hoc fact-finding team to evaluate how security was handled during the incident.
Mr Widodo noted on Wednesday that the fact-finding team will look into the circumstances surrounding the stampede.
Sharing his own observations after visiting the stadium, the president told reporters: “From my view, I think that the problems are in the locked doors and also the stairs are too steep, plus there was panic.
“But these are just my observations from being on the ground. Later, everything will be concluded by the joint independent fact-finding team.”
He added that he has ordered the ministry of public works to audit all stadiums within a month.
“To improve the doors, the gates, and then the seating positions, the fence and others. So we prioritise the safety of the audience and the supporters,” he added.
Jokowi also said that when he spoke with FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Monday, the latter said that FIFA is ready to help improve football management in Indonesia.
The Indonesian leader said that the entire ecosystem, including stadium management, spectators control and security arrangements will need to be reviewed.
“We must evaluate everything entirely so that the Kanjuruhan stadium incident won’t happen again.”