Indonesia football match riot
This screengrab of fans invading the football pitch during an Indonesian Premier League game was tweeted by Japanese footballer Keisuke Honda.

Indonesia stampede: Major football disasters of the past century

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At least 174 people were killed and dozens injured in a riot and stampede at an Indonesian football stadium on Saturday night. Thousands of Arema FC fans stormed the pitch at Kanjuruhan Stadium in East Java province after their team’s 3–2 loss to Persebaya Surabaya. Police reacted with tear gas, triggering a stampede. Some suffocated in the rush to the exit, while many were trampled to death.

Let us look at some of the worst football-related disasters of the past century.

January 25, 2022, Cameroon

A stampede at the Yaounde Olembe Stadium left at least eight dead and 38 injured. It happened when crowds tried to enter the stadium to watch the host nation beat Comoros 2–1 in the Africa Cup of Nations’ last-16 game.

February 1, 2012, Egypt

At least 73 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured when fans rioted at the end of a match between Al Masry and Al Ahly in Port Said. The incident resulted in the Egyptian league being suspended for two years.

Also read: Indonesia: 174 dead after violence, stampede at football match in Malang

March 30, 2009, Ivory Coast

At least 22 people were killed and 132 wounded in a stampede at Abidjan’s Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium before a World Cup qualifying match against Malawi.

May 9, 2001, Ghana

Around 126 people were killed in a stampede at the Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra, Ghana, when police fired tear gas at rioting fans. It is one of Africa’s worst football disasters, if not the worst ever.

April 11, 2001, South Africa

Fans tried to force their way into Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium midway through a top South African league match, crushing at least 43 people to death. It is South Africa’s worst football disaster.

Watch: 174 dead in Indonesia’s ‘stadium disaster’

October 16, 1996, Guatemala

At least 84 people died and some 147 were injured when an avalanche of fans crushed others at the Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City. The incident took place during a World Cup qualifying match between Guatemala and Costa Rica.

May 5, 1992, France

At least 18 died and more than 2,300 were injured when a stand at Bastia’s Furiani Stadium collapsed. The incident happened during a Coupe de France (French Cup) semi-final between the SC Bastia and the Olympique de Marseille.

Also read: FIFA chief Infantino might call on PM Modi next month to discuss Indian football

January 13, 1991, South Africa

A pre-season friendly between the Kaizer Chiefs and the Orlando Pirates left 42 dead at the Oppenheimer Stadium in Orkney. The stampede happened after a Pirates fan attacked Chiefs supporters in the crowd with a knife.

April 15, 1989, England

An over-crowded and fenced-in enclosure left 96 Liverpool supporters dead at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. The incident took place before an FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest. One victim died in 2021, 32 years after suffering severe brain damage.

March 12, 1988, Nepal

More than 90 people were killed in a stampede at Nepal’s national football stadium in Kathmandu when thousands of spectators rushed towards locked exits during a hailstorm.

May 29, 1985, Belgium

Fan violence left 39 dead and more than 600 injured at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels. The incident happened before a European Cup final between Juventus and Liverpool.

May 25, 1985, England

A fire at Bradford’s Valley Parade stadium killed 56 people and injured more than 200 during a third division match between Bradford City and Lincoln City.

October 20, 1982, Russia

At least 66 people were crushed to death at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium during a UEFA Cup tie between Spartak Moscow and Dutch club HFC Haarlem. Though 66 is the official number, witnesses claim the actual number of victims was more 300.

Also read: Indian U-17 team registers 3-1 win over 10-man Oman in football friendly

June 23, 1968, Argentina

A closed exit led to the deaths of 74 people during a first-division game between River Plate and Boca Juniors at El Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires. Unaware of the closed exit, spectators crushed others against the doors, leaving over 150 injured as well.

May 24, 1964, Peru

More than 300 people were killed and 500 injured in riots at Lima’s National Stadium after Argentina beat the hosts in an Olympic qualifying match.

March 9, 1946, England

A wall collapse at Burden Park before an English FA Cup match between Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City left 33 dead and over 400 injured. The collapse crushed fans and sparked a stampede as well.

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