Football boss ready to take blame after tragedy leaves 125 dead (VIDEO)
Arema FC president Gilang Widya Pramana has said he is ready to accept the blame for the Kanjuruhan Stadium tragedy in East Java, Indonesia, which shocked the football world and claimed the lives of 125 fans on Saturday.
The tragedy occurred when police teargassed fans who invaded the pitch after Arema FC lost 3-2 at home to bitter rivals Persebaya in the Indonesian Liga 1.
Panic spread through the terraces, causing thousands to swarm towards the exits where many suffocated.
At a tearful press conference on Monday, Pramana took full responsibility for the disaster originally said to have killed 174 people before the death toll was revised to 125.
“I would really like to, once again, apologize to all the victims, to the families, to the people of Indonesia, to all who were involved ... to the Football Association of Indonesia, to the police, and to the President (Joko Widodo) for the tragedy that happened at Arema,” Pramana said while dabbing his eyes with tissues and being consoled.
“We cannot say anything about how many victims were there. We regret this happened. As the president of Arema FC, I am ready to be fully responsible for the incident on October 1,” Pramana added.
“We're ready to give compensation and anything [else] to the victims, even though anything we do cannot bring them back.”
Pramana also stressed that “lives are more precious than soccer.”
At a separate press conference, Chief Security Minister Mohammad Mahfud Mahmodin, commonly known as Mahfud MD, said Arema FC will “immediately identify those who are responsible for the tragedy.”
Mahfud MD previously posted on Instagram that 42,000 tickets had been sold for the game in a football stadium that has a capacity limit of 38,000.
President Joko Widodo called for the Kanjuruhan Stadium tragedy to be the last “in the nation,” and ordered all Liga 1 games to be suspended pending an investigation.
Reacting to the tragedy, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said the football world was “in a state of shock” on a “dark day for all involved” in the sport.