Premier League clubs have paid tribute to the 174 people killed in a tragic incident during an Indonesian football match.
The devastating scenes broke out after host Arema FC from the city of Malang in East Java lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya FC.
Fans flooded the pitch of Kanjuruhan Stadium in protest and demanded Arema’s management to explain why this match ended in a loss after 23 years of unbeaten home games, witnesses said.
Poignant footage shows fans climbing fences as they try to escape the smoke of tear gas, which did not dissipate, with some falling to the ground, losing consciousness and being trampled under a stampede.
English clubs, as well as the Premier League itself, have since expressed their condolences following the tragic incident.
The Premier League’s official Twitter account wrote: ‘The thoughts of everyone in the Premier League are with those affected by the tragic events at Kanjuruhan Stadium last night’.
At least 174 people have been killed in a riot that broke out at an Indonesian football match
Horrific images show Artema fans flooding the field after the BRI Liga 1 match
Arema FC lost 3-2 at home to local rivals Persebaya Surabaya on the main island of Java
Meanwhile, Man United wrote: ‘Manchester United are deeply saddened by the tragedy in Malang, Indonesia. We extend our sincere condolences to the victims, their families and everyone involved.”
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the events at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, Indonesia. The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with all concerned at this time,” the Merseyside club wrote.
Arsenal’s official page reads: ‘We are deeply saddened to learn of the events in Malang at Kanjuruhan Stadium Indonesia today. Along with everyone who finds connection through football, our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic events at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Indonesia. Our thoughts are with everyone involved,” Man City’s Twitter page said.
The Premier League along with a number of clubs expressed their condolences on social media
Football fans help a young girl escape from Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, after riots broke out after the match
FIFA president Gianni Infantino described the incident as an “incomprehensible tragedy.”
He said: “The football world is in shock after the tragic incidents that happened in Indonesia at the end of the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium.
“This is a dark day for everyone involved in football and a tragedy that is beyond comprehension. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident,” he added.
“Together with FIFA and the global football community, all our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, those who have been injured, along with the people of the Republic of Indonesia, the Asian Football Federation, the Indonesian Football Association and the Indonesian Football League, in this difficult time.’
Meanwhile, Spain’s LaLiga has announced that they will hold a minute’s silence before the upcoming matches “as a mark of respect for the tragedy that happened in Indonesia yesterday”.
Fans stormed the field after their 23 years of undefeated home games came to an end
The riots that broke out left 180 people injured and hundreds killed in the match
The death toll has now risen from 127 to 174, including two police officers and children. It now means that this has been one of the deadliest sporting events in the world.
Most of those who died were trampled after police fired tear gas to quell the riots or suffered from inhalation and oxygen deprivation.
The riots spread outside the stadium, where at least five police vehicles were overthrown and set on fire amid the chaos.
More than 300 people were taken to hospital with their injuries after the riots, but many died en route or during treatment, East Java police chief Nico Afinta said.
Arema stadium is located in the east of Java in the city of Kepanjen, 50 miles from rivals Persebaya Surabaya to the north
Security guards stop a fan during a clash between supporters of two Indonesian football teams at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang
Riot police officers with batons run onto the field to disperse the crowd while firing tear gas
He added: “We already took preventive action before finally firing the tear gas when (fans) started attacking the police, acting anarchist and setting vehicles on fire.”
Mr Afinta said the death toll is likely to increase as many of the 180 or so injured who are undergoing intensive treatment in various hospitals are deteriorating.
Local reports say hospitals are struggling with the number of dead and injured being brought in. More rioting broke out outside the stadium as tensions rose among supporters, cars set on fire and rocks hurled at passing vehicles.
Television reports showed that police and rescue workers evacuated the injured and carried the dead to ambulances.
The riots spread outside the stadium where at least five police vehicles were overturned
Grieving relatives waited for information about their loved ones at Saiful Anwar General Hospital in Malang. Others tried to identify the bodies deposited in a morgue.
Last night’s riots are already among the world’s worst disasters, including the 1996 World Cup qualifier between Guatemala and Costa Rica in Guatemala City, which killed more than 80 people and injured about 100 others.
In April 2001, more than 40 people were crushed during a football match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed his deepest condolences to the dead on Sunday.
He said: ‘I deeply regret this tragedy and I hope this is the last football tragedy in this country.
‘Don’t let another human tragedy like this happen in the future.
“We must continue to cherish sportsmanship, humanity and a sense of brotherhood of the Indonesian nation.”
The President then ordered the Minister of Youth and Sports, the Chief of Police of the National Police and the Chairman of the PSSI to conduct a thorough review of the competition and its security procedures.
Football association chief Mochamad Iriawan appeared to take some responsibility for the chaotic and heartbreaking scenes at the end of the match when he apologized “to the families of the victims and all parties”.
‘For that PSSI [Indonesian Football Association] immediately formed an investigation team and immediately left for Malang,” he said.
The hotly contested Super East Java Derby had been a close match, with Arema pulling back Persebaya after trailing 2-0 on Saturday night.
But the heroic comeback was not to be as Arema had to concede a late goal to lose the match, leaving their fans furious.