The World Reacts to Kanjuruhan’s Stadium Incident

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A tragedy has struck Indonesia football league once again as riots broke out following a football game between Arema and Persebaya on October 1, 2022. It was reported that at least 125 people were killed in a riot at the Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang. The stadium was suddenly filled with loud yells and cries.

The majority of those killed and hurt during the game, according to eyewitness accounts, were those who were hit by tear gas shot by the police, who claimed they were trying to end the riots on the field. The fans’ confusion and exhaustion caused them to scatter off the field and jostle with one another, which led to them stomping each other to death.

The tragedy that permeated the derby that Persebaya won at Arema’s home field immediately gained attention from the general public on a global scale. Sports and esports fans and teams from England to Indonesia reacted with dismay, mourning the victims of the incident.

Boom Esports, an Indonesian esports team that is making waves on social media as the country’s representative at The International for the first time, also shared their sympathies on social media.

“My condolences to the bereaved family. I just can’t imagine if  my kid asks me for permission to watch a football game and he never come home after that. Horrible” said Jonathan Liandi, one of the big influencers in the Indonesian Mobile Legends scene, in one of his videos.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those affected by the tragedy” Team Secret shared  across their social media.

“Absolutely terrible. The best thoughts for the family and everything,” said Manchester City’s coach Pep Guardiola when asked about the Kanjuruhan incident, ahead of Manchester City’s match against Manchester United on 2 October.

Across Europe, the Spanish La Liga decided to hold moment of silence during matchday seven in memory of those who lost in Kanjuruhan tragedy. As seen before the kick-off in the match between Real Madrid and Osasuna.

“On behalf of European football, I would like to express our profound shock and sadness at last night’s appaling events in East Java’s Kanjuruhan stadium. Our community sends its sympathy and solidarity to everyone affected by this tragedy” wrote UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, via the official UEFA Twitter account.

Istanbul Basaksehir’s player and German national team legend, Mesut Özil, who had visited Indonesia on May 2022, has expressed condolences to the victim through his Twitter account. “My condolences to all the victims who died in the incident in Malang, Indonesia. I pray for the victims to be placed in the most honorable place by the side of God.”

For the record, this is the worst incident that has ever happened in the history of Indonesian football. Previously, about five people died in Indonesia during riots that broke out between supporters that happened around 2017 to 2018. The President of Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, has ordered Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) to stop the league and to conduct an investigation into the Kanjuruhan Stadium to find out more about the incident. 

It is said sports has the power to unite. It did, in this instance, but we hope that it can for much less tragic reasons in the future.

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