Indonesia’s Liga 1 suspended after fan dies
A football fan was killed in Indonesia on Sunday after he was beaten to death by a group of supporters of an opposing team.
Indonesia’s Football Association (PSSI) has suspended indefinitely the country’s top league after a Persija Jakarta fan was killed by a mob of supporters of rival club Persib Bandung on Sunday.
PSSI’s chairman Edy Rahmayadi told the Jakarta Post on Tuesday that an investigation over the tragedy had been launched.
"We have to make sure the diagnosis is correct before we take action," Rahmayadi said.
"We have rules, there will be sanctions, starting from the lightest, like a reprimand, to a fine or even disqualification."
Indonesia’s Youth and Sports Affairs Minister, Imam Nahrawi, backed the stoppage of the country’s Liga 1 to allow the investigation take place.
"This is a form of respect for victim and their families. This is also a form of national condolence and is a form of introspection. One life is very expensive compared to football," Nahrawi told the Antara News agency.
Fan killed in Bandung
Haringga Sirla, a 23-year-old supporter of Persija Jakarta, died on Sunday after being attacked by Persib Bandung fans.
According to police spokesperson Yoris Maulana, some 16 people had been arrested in connection with the attack.
He added that Haringga came to Bandung alone on Sunday to watch the match and was picked up by a friend who lived in the city. When the pair arrived at the Gelora Bandung Lautan Api Stadium, they were confronted by a mob of Persib fans who were checking for holders of non-Bandung ID cards.
Haringga, who had a Jakarta ID card, was chased by the mob and eventually surrounded.
“The victim was immediately beaten, until he died at the scene,” Yoris said. “Some [people] beat him with their hands and feet, while others used objects, such as wooden planks and helmets.”
Violence in football, a habit in Indonesia
This is the seventh death of a fan linked to a match between these two teams since 2012, according to local football analyst Akmal Marhali.
“This keeps happening because of neglect by authorities,” Marhali was cited as saying by Channel News Asia.
“In the past there hasn’t been any firm punishment for violence and vandalism … it’s become a habit in Indonesian football.”
Persib Bandung and Persija Jakarta are the biggest and richest clubs in Indonesia’s Liga One.