League in trouble after fan death

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia has suspended play in its top professional football league after supporters of a rival team clubbed a fan to death with iron bars and planks, a football association spokesman said Wednesday, plunging the crisis-prone league into another scandal.

The decision follows the weekend death of Haringga Sirla, a 23-year-old Persija Jakarta fan, who was beaten by a group of Persib Bandung supporters outside a stadium in the city of Bandung, 150 kilometers (93 miles) southeast of Jakarta.

Sunday’s incident was the latest in a spate of football-related deaths in Southeast Asia’s biggest nation. The police said they have detained 16 people in connection with the killing.
“We decided that we are halting the Liga 1 competition for an indefinite period of time,” Gatot Widagdo, media director for the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI), told AFP.
“We’re focused on solving this problem.”

Widagdo said the break in competition would allow an investigation into the fatal beating and a review of security procedures among the 18 clubs in the top flight, fans and the league operator, PT Liga Indonesia Baru.

The PSSI said it would also consult with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation, partly as a way of avoiding sanctions, Widagdo added.

AFP

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