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Indonesian union directly acts to safeguard players' wellbeing after stadium tragedy


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Indonesian player association APPI is helping players cope with the consequences of the tragedy that occurred last Saturday, when more than 125 people died during riots at the end of a football match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya in Malang, Indonesia.

APPI initiated a number of activities to safeguard the wellbeing of their members and reached out to players of Arema and Persebaya.

The players of visiting team Persebaya were able to safely leave the stadium with help of authorities. However, players of the home side Arema were trapped in their dressing room until 3am local time, around five hours after the match ended.

They told APPI that numerous victims and casualties were carried into their dressing room, and that they, together with their medical staff, tried to save the lives of victims.

On Sunday, APPI organised an online meeting to discuss the tragedy with captains of all Liga 1 clubs, including players of Arema and Persebaya who shared their stories and emotions. Many players were shocked and traumatised.

APPI and the captains produced a statement to share their deepest condolences for the victims.

The players urged the government for an independent investigation into the tragedy and called for a suspension of all football activities at a national level until improvements are made and “football in Indonesia is safe for all parties."

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Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang after the riot

After APPI published their statement, the Indonesian government reached out to them to announce the formation of an independent fact-finding team, consisting of professionals, experts, academics, journalists and a APPI representative. The union appointed Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto, a former Indonesia player and member of APPI’s advisory board.

APPI, together with several parties, is trying to organise a charity match, with all benefits going directly to victims of the tragedy in Kanjuruhan.

FIFPRO is closely observing the situation, is being frequently updated by APPI, and is ready to help the Indonesian association and its members when called upon.

“Our thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones,” said FIFPRO Division Asia’s General Secretary Frederique Winia. “Our thoughts are also with the players who had to witness terrible moments and now have to cope with them.”

“We are impressed by the immediate actions taken by APPI. During these difficult times they are showing that they are there to look after the wellbeing of the players and the fans,” said Winia.