The death of Persija Jakarta fan Haringga Sirla at the hands of rivals Persib Bandung supporters has raised questions about whether or not Indonesia’s premier soccer competition should be allowed to continue in the wake of numerous fan deaths due to violent hooliganism in recent years.
Sports and Youth Minister Imam Nahrawi seems like he’s at least considering the idea of putting an end to the professional league with a strongly worded warning to the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) regarding Haringga’s death.
Imam added that the ministry is evaluating the attack on Haringga and will come up with an as-of-yet undetermined sanction to make sure something like this never happens again to another fan.
“I cried, I strongly condemn, and am full of condolences to the victim,” he said.
The Bandung Police have so far named eight people suspects for being involved in the death of Haringga, who was beaten to a bloody pulp by Persib supporters right outside their home ground just because they found out he was a Persija fan. The suspects could each face at least five years in prison for aggravated assault leading to death.
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil, a self-professed Persib fan, strongly condemned the attack and said that he would rather see soccer banned in Indonesia than for there to be another victim of pointless violence.
Since 2012, seven people from both sides of the Persija-Persib rivalry have been killed in violent attacks by rival supporters.