Stadium stampede: 12 arrested
KUALA LUMPUR - Twelve people have been arrested after fans stormed a stadium hosting a Malaysian football championship semifinal and forced the game to be called off amid chaotic scenes, police said yesterday.
In the latest black eye for trouble-plagued Malaysian football, fans threw water bottles and stones and stormed the pitch on Tuesday night in the eastern state of Pahang. The outburst was apparently sparked when some spectators were denied entry, district police officer Aziz Ahmad told AFP.
He said some 40000 people thronged the 35000-capacity Darulmakmur Stadium in the east coast town of Kuantan for the Malaysian Football Association Cup's semifinal second leg between Pahang and Johor Darul Takzim.
"Some fans who bought tickets were not allowed to enter so they were really disappointed. We believe the tickets may have been oversold but that's for the state's FA [football association] to answer," Aziz said.
Twelve men were arrested and were being investigated for damaging property, Aziz said, adding that several people sustained slight injuries.
A Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) official who asked not to be named said the sport's authorities were due to meet in Kuala Lumpur later yesterday to discuss the incident. The match would be rescheduled, he said.
Malaysians are football-mad but their patience has been repeatedly tested by problems besetting the sport, particularly allegations of matchfixing.
Football authorities promised last week to investigate claims of match rigging during a second-tier Malaysian Premier League match and urged police to protect players amid reports of death threats by bookies.
Last year FAM suspended 18 youth players and banned a coach for life for match-fixing.