Persib Bandung to play home games behind closed doors in Kalimantan as punishment for Persija fan’s death

Haringga Sirla (left). Photo: Facebook. One of Haringga’s final posts on social media before the match (right). Photo: Instagram

The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) today announced multiple sanctions against Persib Bandung over the death of Persija Jakarta fan Haringga Sirla, who was killed by Persib supporters outside the team’s home stadium on September 23.

In a press release, PSSI said their disciplinary committee has agreed to punish Persib by having them play their home games in far away in Kalimantan for the remainder of the 2018 Liga 1 season. Not only that, all Persib home games during that period will be played behind closed doors.

Persib will be allowed to return to play their home games in Bandung during  the 2019 season, but they will have to do so behind closed doors for half of the season. Furthermore, Persib bans are barred from attending both home and away Persib games until midway through the 2019 season.

The disciplinary committee also ruled that Persib’s match organizers and security officials failed to provide adequate security for supporters that day, and have decided to ban them from being involved in future match organization activities for the next two years as well as fining them IDR100 million (US$6,634).

As for the eight Persib fans suspected of killing Haringga, all of them have been banned from attending any soccer games in Indonesia for life. The eight have also been charged by police with aggravated assault leading to death and would face at least five years in jail if convicted.

Liga 1, Indonesia’s premier soccer competition, was suspended by the government shortly Haringga’s death but the PSSI says it will resume on October 5.

Haringga, 23, went to Bandung to watch his team, Persija, take on their traditional rivals Persib on September 23. In the West Java capital, he met up with his friend, a resident of the city, and went to the Gelora Bandung Lautan Api (GBLA) stadium.

There, the two crossed paths with a group of Persib fans who were doing a “sweeping” patrol around the stadium demanding that people show them their ID cards to make sure there were no Persija fans in the area. Haringga was the unfortunate Persija fan netted in that sweep.

Videos of the assault on Haringga went viral online. In one disturbing clip, Haringga is seen being savagely beaten to a bloody pulp by Persib supporters — several small children included —  as they chant songs telling him to “go home”.

Since 2012, seven people from both sides of the Persija-Persib rivalry have been killed in violent attacks by rival supporters.

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