The Indonesian Football Association, or PSSI, is planning to create a special division for fans after a Persib Bandung fan was killed following a brutal attack at Lautan Api Stadium in Bandung, West Java on Saturday (22/07).
Rico Andrian, 22, was attacked by fellow Persib supporters during a Liga 1 match between two arch-enemies, Persija Jakarta and Persib Bandung.
During halftime, a group of Persib supporters were involved in a dispute over an unknown matter. However, Rico chose to stay on the sidelines. He reportedly became a target after isolating himself from the group. The group assaulted Rico but eventually stopped after Rico proved that he was a fellow supporter by showing his Persib membership card to the group.
Rico was then carried to the hospital after sustaining injuries on head and his left chest. He remained in a comatose state until his eventual death on Thursday morning.
“The Indonesian Football Association [PSSI] and I feel sorry for the incident and send our deepest condolences to Rico and his family,” PSSI’s newly appointed secretary general, Ratu Tisha Destria, said on Thursday.
“We know that the football fans in Indonesia need special treatment and therefore we’ll create a division for fans and the community which will address such incidents among the fans,” she added.
Following the incident, PSSI said its disciplinary commission is working as fast as possible to impose appropriate sanctions.
According to Indonesian football watchdog organization, Save Our Soccer, from 1990 to February this year, there have been more than 50 deaths resulting from football rivalries in Indonesia.
Thirty-five of those deaths including Rico took place in the past five years alone.
In November last year, a Persija supporter was killed in a brawl with local residents in Cirebon, West Java, on the way home from Solo when Persija met Persib at a neutral venue.
Earlier in May last year, a 16-year-old Persija fan Muhammad Fahreza was found in critical condition after being assaulted by an unknown police officer. Fahreza then died in hospital. A month after his death, police officer Brig. Hanafi had acid thrown on him by Persija supporters during another match, although no one claimed responsibility for it.
However, last year, PSSI was quick to point out that this was not their area of responsibility.
“The federation doesn’t manage supporters who riot, we just handle football governance. If we regulate riots, what kind of federation are we?” former PSSI executive committee member, Djamal Aziz, said.
“Supporters are not our responsibility. We just oversee football clubs which then clubs manage their supporters through education or sanctions we impose,” Djamal added.