JAKARTA, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s soccer association will file a formal complaint to FIFA after bottles and flares were thrown at the country’s supporters during its World Cup 2022 qualifying game against Indonesia on Thursday, Malaysia’s sports minister said.
The South Korean referee was also forced to stop the game for several minutes after Indonesian fans invaded the pitch at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno stadium. Malaysia came from behind to win the match 3-2 in stoppage time.
“Gangsterism will not be tolerated in any way. The safety of Malaysian players and supporters is a priority,” Malaysia’s sports minister Syed Saddiq said on Instagram after attending the game.
Indonesian police also fired tear gas outside the stadium on Thursday night to disperse the crowd, while Malaysian supporters had to be escorted by anti-riot police out of the area.
“On behalf of the Indonesian people and the government, we would like to apologise for the unpleasant actions that were carried out by Indonesian supporters,” Indonesia’s sports minister Imam Nahrawi said in a statement.
News portal kompas.com said police had detained one Indonesian supporter for throwing an object in the stadium.
Malaysia is a traditional rival for Indonesia who are returning to World Cup qualifying after being barred from international soccer in 2015 due to the government meddling in their domestic league.
Akmal Marhali, an activist at an Indonesian non-governmental group, Save Our Soccer, said local supporters should not have been allowed to bring in rocks, wooden sticks, flares and other objects.
“This is embarrassing, how can Indonesia propose to host the 2034 World Cup if our soccer scene is disappointing,” he said by telephone.
Indonesian soccer has a history of crowd trouble and according to Marhali at least 78 supporters had died since 1994 in match-related violence. (Editing by Ed Davies and Christian Radnedge)