Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, president of the Football Association, has sent his condolences to the families of the victims of the Indonesia football tragedy, and the entire Indonesian football community.
At least 125 people, including 32 children, were killed and many more injured on Saturday night in the eastern city of Malang in a stampede after thousands of fans invaded the pitch following the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya.
Authorities said police fired tear gas that caused a surge of panicked fans to run for exits from the stadium. It resulted in scores of deaths by trampling and suffocation. It represents one of the deadliest disasters at a sporting event.
In a statement released on Monday, Sheikh Rashid said he expressed “deep sadness” in the lost lives, while he also sent his condolences to Mochamad Iriawan, president of the Indonesian Football Association.
Sheikh Rashid said that, together on behalf of the FA, he offered his “sincere condolences to the families of the victims, and the Indonesian football community, wishing a speedy recovery for the injured”. Sheikh Rashid stressed that the FA would “stand by the football family in Indonesia in these hard times”.
Witnesses on Saturday night said officers beat them with sticks and shields before shooting tear gas canisters directly into the crowds.
Arema FC apologised on Monday, with club president Gilang Widya Pramana saying he would take full responsibility for the events. Chief security minister Mahfud MD told a news conference on Monday that the country would set up an independent team to investigate the incident and decipher who was responsible, as Indonesian police said they were investigating 18 officers for firing the tear gas that prompted the crush.
National Police spokesman Dedy Prasetyo said officers from mid-ranking and high-ranking positions were being investigated, alongside “internal matters related to security management”.
It was reported on Monday that Indonesian president Joko Widodo had ordered compensation for the families of the 125 victims.