The government has suspended competitive soccer matches following a deadly stampede in the city of Malang that killed 135 people, including more than 40 children.
“The (season) of the soccer league will be finished.
The scheduled (matches) that were previously determined will be completed,” the country’s security chief Mahfud MD told reporters before the games began.
He added that the matches would take place without fans in the stands.
The government’s decision was made “to support the future of national football,” Mahfud said.
In a statement on Monday, the head of the Indonesian football association, Mochammad Iriawan, thanked the government for allowing the soccer league to resume, adding that authorities had worked to ensure it was “safe” to host matches.
Four matches of Indonesia’s top flight League 1 were completed on Monday after the government announcement.
After fans invaded the pitch at the end of a league match between local team Arema FC and rival Persebaya Surabaya on October 1, police fired tear gas into the packed stands, sparking a stampede at Kanjuruhan Stadium.
in Malang, East Java. In the aftermath of the tragedy, President Joko Widodo suspended the league, ordered an investigation into what happened, and vowed to demolish and rebuild the stadium in accordance with FIFA standards.
Three police officers are among the six people charged in the tragedy.
Meanwhile, an investigative task force has called on Iriawan and all members of the association’s executive committee to resign.
Sports and Youth Minister Zainudin Amali said the matches would take place “with strict guidance” from the police and the country’s football association.
He stressed that the Indonesian national team “needed” the competition to prepare for the AFF Championship, while the country is also set to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup next year.
The youth tournament is scheduled for May-June 2023, in various cities across the archipelago nation.
Amali said that the government will evaluate the organization of the parties.
“The most important thing is to keep going, and then we will evaluate as there may be things that need to be improved.