Indonesia league final switched after fan violence

Updated: February 8, 2008, 5:51 AM ET
Reuters

By Sunanda Creagh

JAKARTA, Feb 8 - Indonesia's soccer federation has switched the venue and date of the league title playoff final after a supporter died during midweek crowd violence in and around the main stadium in the capital. The Southeast Asian nation has witnessed an escalation of soccer hooliganism over the last decade and the sports minister had even threatened to cancel this weekend's final after the latest wave of violence.

"We know that the situation at the moment in Jakarta is not conducive to having a safe football match," Nugraha Besoes, secretary general of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), told Reuters.

A 27-year-old fan was dragged from a mini-bus and beaten to death on his way to a semi-final playoff match at the 88,000-capacity Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Wednesday, according to media reports.

The violence broke out as two semi-final games for the Djarum Indonesian Premier League, which is split into western and eastern divisions, were taking place in the stadium. Sriwijaya FC beat Persija Jakarta 1-0 to set up a final clash with PSMS Medan, who beat Persipura Jayapura on penalties.

There was violence in and around the stadium with fans hurling missiles at rival supporters and attacking vehicles in nearby streets.

Besoes said the final would be switched from Jakarta to the city of Bandung, about two hour's drive southeast of the capital, and would now take place on Sunday evening rather than Saturday.

The official said that the size of the crowds in Jakarta on Wednesday had contributed to the problems and that switching the game to Bandung would attract a smaller attendance that was easier to control.

"We looked at the facility in Bandung and the stadium is according to the standards of international football," he said. (Editing by Ed Davies and John O'Brien)

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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