October 14, 2022
JAKARTA – FIFA and the Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) will go ahead with plans to ensure Indonesia will still be able to host the U-20 World Cup and any future matches safely, despite calls for accountability over the PSSI’s role in the Kanjuruhan tragedy.
FIFA’s development-project coordinator Niko Nhouvannasak said that currently, the world soccer’s governing body was still in the middle of gathering data on the tragedy that killed 132 people in Malang, East Java, two weeks ago.
“We’ll use this data to draft a working plan to ensure this tragedy will never happen in the future,” Nhouvannasak said in a joint press conference held at the Gelora Bung Karno sports complex in Central Jakarta on Wednesday, as quoted by Kompas. “Hopefully, the [Liga 1] competition can resume and the 2023 U-20 World Cup in Indonesia can go ahead as safely as possible.”
Aside from Nhouvannasak, several delegates from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) were also present at the press conference. Among them was FIFA’s stadium consultant Serge Dumotier, who will personally evaluate the six stadiums that are going to host the biannual youth soccer tournament in May of next year where 24 participating countries, including Indonesia, are set to compete.
Although the Kanjuruhan Stadium is not among the six stadiums to be used for the coming U-20 tournament, the disaster has called into question Indonesia’s capability to ensure safety at soccer matches.
PSSI chief Mochamad Iriawan expressed his gratitude for the support of FIFA and AFC, and emphasized that PSSI’s cooperation was instrumental in reforming Indonesian soccer. “Their support is the result of President [Joko] ‘Jokowi’ [Widodo]’s efforts. […] FIFA and AFC are here to accompany PSSI in mending Indonesian soccer, especially after the Kanjuruhan tragedy,” said Iriawan, who is a retired three-star police general.
However, Wednesday’s press conference made no mention of reviewing the security protocols used in Kanjuruhan, in particular the use of tear gas and the heavy security presence on the pitch, both of which were in breach of FIFA security protocols.
Anton Sanjoyo, senior sports journalist and a member of the government-sanctioned fact-finding team that is currently investigating the Kanjuruhan tragedy, said that the responsibility in enforcing those protocols fell to the PSSI as the soccer governing body in Indonesia.
“The police and the match’s organizing committee admitted their ignorance of the FIFA regulations banning the use of tear gas and they were also never asked to take off their uniforms and their riot gear,” Anton said. “This indicates a breakdown in communication from the PSSI as they are the one who should have communicated these regulations to all relevant parties.”
While two members of the local match’s organizers and Akhmad Hadian Lukita, president director of soccer league operator PT Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB), have been named as suspects by the police, PSSI has so far escaped scrutiny for their role in the tragedy.