No spectators were present when the Indonesian soccer match that resulted in one of the worst stadium stampedes in history last year began on Tuesday night, according to officials.
The last time fierce rivals Persebaya and Arema FC faced off was in October 2022, and that game ended in a crush that claimed 135 lives. Police used tear gas on the crowd, a method of crowd control that FIFA forbids, and several people perished as they ran for safety.
According to the police-issued permit, the match would not have any spectators, Persebaya stated on its Instagram page.
After 21 minutes of play, there had been no scoring.
Only a few members of the media, club officials, and security personnel were sitting on the benches to watch the game, according to a Reuters photographer inside the stadium. Several police officers were visible standing watch outside the stadium.
The police academy surrounds the stadium, which is situated close to the national police force’s headquarters in Indonesia.
Many problems have recently plagued Indonesian soccer. As a result of protests from legislators in the largely Muslim country against Israel’s involvement, the nation lost its right to host the under-20 World Cup last month.
FIFA then implemented a sanction by freezing the country’s football association’s development funds.
The Persebaya-Arema FC game was originally scheduled to take place in early March, but police decided to postpone it because of ongoing worries about fan animosity and crowd control.