Football Stadium Stampede Kills Over 170 Fans

A riot at a football match in Indonesia has left more than 170 fans including women and children dead and hundreds more injured. The incident is one of the worst stadium disasters in more than 50 years.

According to reports, initial pitch invasions following the final whistle in the match between two arch-rivals Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya played at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Indonesia reportedly led to much more sinister consequences.

A few fans of Arema, the losing home side, went on the pitch to express their disappointment with the home team players but were immediately intercepted by police and “beaten,” the reports said.

Police responded by using tear gas against the supporters, causing riots to reportedly break out in the immediate aftermath of the football fixture, leading to an unconfirmed number of deaths.

Images and video footage of the post-match scenes have since circulated across social media, in which swirls of tear gas can be seen drifting across the football pitch as fans and police rush in all directions.

A fan who attended the match said more spectators took to the pitch in protest, adding that the situation became “tense” and Police with dogs, shields, and soldiers came forward and shot several tear gas.

The panicking and fleeing fans “went out to one point at the exit. Then there was a build-up, in the process of accumulation there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen”, an officer is also quoted as saying.

Early reports put the death toll at about 130, but officials later announced a significant rise to 174, with more than 200 more injured, the BBC said.

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must be stopped until an investigation has been carried out.

Football World Governing Body, FIFA, which banned the use of tear gas at stadiums, has described the incident as beyond comprehension and a dark day in the history of football. It called for a full-scale investigation.

Timeline of world’s worst football disasters

Meanwhile, following the stampede in Indonesia, Knews lists some of the world’s deadliest stadium disasters.


In 1964, a total of 320 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured during a stampede at a Peru-Argentina Olympic qualifier in Lima. The Estadio Nacional disaster also known as the Lima football disaster is the worst disaster in the history of football. An unpopular decision by the referee outraged the Peruvian fans, who decided to invade the pitch. Police retaliated by firing tear gas into the crowd, causing a mass exodus. The deaths mainly occurred from people suffering from internal hemorrhaging or asphyxiation from the crushing against the steel shutters that led down to the street.


Sixty-six people were killed in a crush at the Ibrox Stadium during a Rangers-Celtic derby on January 2, 1971. It was the stadium’s second disaster, after a stand collapsed in 1902, killing 26 people. It happened in an exit stairway at Ibrox Park (now Ibrox Stadium) in Glasgow, Scotland. It was the worst British football disaster until the Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield England, in 1989.


Mystery still surrounds the total number who died at the end of a UEFA Cup match between Spartak Moscow and Dutch side Haarlem on October 20, 1982, at the Luzniki Stadium resulting from a crush in a stairwell. Officially it remains at 66 — 45 of them teenagers — but according to the daily newspaper Sovietski Sport, the numbers were far higher, with 340 killed.


In 1985, 39 people died and 600 were hurt at the Heysel stadium in Brussels, Belgium, when fans were crushed against a wall that then collapsed during the European Cup final between Liverpool, then champions of England, and European Cup holders and Juventus —the champions of Italy and holders of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

United Kingdom

In the UK, a crush developed at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989, resulting in the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans attending the club’s FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. Shortly before kick-off, in an attempt to ease overcrowding outside the entrance turnstiles, the police match commander, David Duckenfield, ordered exit gate C to be opened, leading to an influx of supporters entering the pens. This resulted in overcrowding of those pens and the crush. With 97 deaths and 766 injuries, it has the highest death toll in British sporting history.


Eighteen people were killed and more than 2,300 injured when a terrace collapsed in Furiani stadium in Corsica on May 5, 1992. On that day, SC Bastia faced Olympique de Marseille for a semifinal match in the French Cup. Marseille was unarguably the best team in France at the time, and the board of Bastia wanted to take advantage of it by adding a large-capacity stand, to increase the number of seats by 50%. Local authorities approved the project without restrictions. Before the game, the stand collapsed, killing 18 and leaving over 2,300 injured.


Around 80 spectators lost their lives on October 16, 1996, after being crushed by fans piling into a stand at the Mateo Flores National Stadium for the 1998 World Cup qualifier between Guatemala and Costa Rica.


On April 11, 2001, 43 people died during a stampede at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg during a match between bitter rivals Premier Soccer League‘s Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in South Africa.

The event was a repeat of the January 13, 1991 disaster during a melee at the Soweto-based derby killing 40 people.


On May 9, 2001, 126 people died in Accra at the end of a match between Hearts of Oaks and Kumasi Asante Kotoko, when Kumasi supporters, angered by their team’s defeat, threw projectiles and broke chairs. Police threw tear-gas grenades, triggering a stampede.

It was also the second-deadliest disaster in the history of association football worldwide at the time it occurred until the October 2022 Kanjuruhan disaster in Indonesia. As of October 2022, it is the third-deadliest football disaster worldwide.


The Port Said stadium tragedy On February 1, 2012, in Egypt, saw 74 people killed after clashes between rival sets of supporters of local club Al-Masry and Cairo-based Al-Ahly. Many of the deaths were due to police refusal to open the stadium gates, trapping the Ahly fans inside, leaving some to die, and killing others in a stampede while trying to escape. Civil unrest and severe clashes continued until 11 February, but general strikes ended on 13 February.


On January 24, 2022, eight people are killed and dozens more injured in a crush and stampede prior to an African Cup of Nations match between hosts Cameroon and the Comoros Island in Yaounde.


The Kanjuruhan Stadium disaster, which led to the publication of this article, was a fatal human crush during an association football match at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang East Java, Indonesia, on 1 October 2022. Following a loss by Arema FC to Persebaya Surabaya Arema supporters invaded the pitch and rioted, attacking police and Persebaya players. In response, riot police units deployed tear gas which triggered a stampede as the people in the stadium suffered suffocation by the gas. At least 174 died in the incident, with hundreds more injured. The incident is the deadliest football-related disaster in Asia, as well as the second-deadliest worldwide.

Credit: BBC/ Guardian

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