The latest horror at football matches worldwide was the suffocation of at least 125 fans last Saturday in East Java’s Kanjuruhan stadium.
The Liverpool fans who managed to avoid the chaotic Stade de France crush can only be grateful that the appallingly insufficient policing at last year’s Champions League final only allowed the use of tear gas into the crowd twice.
It might have gone much worse. A French minister claims that grenades or some sort of hand-held launcher for rubber bullets may have been considered, but that they would not have been “proportionate.”
Tear gas was also the night’s tool in Malang, where the idiots in charge massacred innocent people.
This wasn’t a wild brawl between opposing fan bases. Far from it, only supporters of the home team Arema were permitted entry, ironically because of fears of clashes.
Sad resemblance to Hillsborough, 1989 Over 4,000 people more than the 38,000 capacity crammed into one space.
Even this might have been under control, but when spectators flooded the field, the police reacted by firing tear gas, some of which entered the stands.
The chaos is only imaginable. As others ran through them, trying to escape and dying in the process, people fell, became blinded, coughed, and vomited.
This was football’s biggest nightmare revisited.
It serves as a reminder of the value of effective crowd control, careful planning, sensible procedures, sensitive handling, and a thorough understanding that excitement and panic are the enemies of crowd control, among both crowds and police officers.
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Paris comes to mind because it personified officialdom’s haughtiness. It was there that a riot of contempt among those paid to make watching football a generally enjoyable entertainment was raging.
Since the horrific events at Heysel in 1985 and beyond, police and clubs in England have learned that crowd control must be meticulous and vigilant.
Many supporters are excellent. They desire a thrilling game that can be safely viewed. However, there is always the odd person looking to cause trouble.
Football clubs have strategies to apprehend those who cause scandal.
We have 1,300 stewards, complete outside and inside policing, razor-sharp CCTV, and a large number of supporter liaison officers at the London Stadium.
Hooliganism was out of control in this country not too long ago, particularly in the 1980s.
I recall learning about a gang called the Zulus, which was said to support Birmingham. The pitch served as a battlefield at St Andrew’s in 1985 (yes, that year again), when hellraisers and a similarly shady Leeds gang clashed.
The Zulus pulled up billboards and charged like in a movie, and the Leeds mob avoided fencing to fight them.
The police mounted horses and pursued the mob back to the stands after 30 minutes of open combat.
Because of the crowding, a fan was killed when a wall fell on him.
Thank God, this hasn’t happened again in a long time.
Hooliganism, oppressive law enforcement, and improper crowd control continue to plague Indonesian football.
All those lives lost—including about 32 children—are the terrible outcome.
The police will bear a large portion of the blame for the numerous inquiries that have been requested in Indonesia; 18 officers have already been detained.
The Arema coach claimed that there were spectators “dying in players’ arms.” Absolutely tragic