Sports Comm identifies three key areas to improve stadium safety

Malaysian football fans throw flare towards to the fields during the world cup qualifire between host Malaysia and Saudi Arabia at Shah Alam stadium yesterday.Malaysia lost 1-2. (08/09/2015/S.S.KANESAN/The Star)

PETALING JAYA: The Sports Commissioner has identified three key areas on stadium safety to avoid a recurrence of the crowd trouble which marred Malaysia’s World Cup qualifying match against Saudi Arabia in September.

Two months ago, Sports Commissioner Datuk Zaiton Othman had issued a show cause letter to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) following the crowd trouble at Shah Alam Stadium on Sept 8.

On Monday, the commissioner’s office held the national body fully responsible for the stadium fiasco, and FAM secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said in a press statement the three areas mentioned were crowd management, tightening of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for crowd safety and the screening of fans and hawkers at the stadium.

FAM added they are working closely with Internal Security and Public Order director Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Muhammad Fuad Abu Zarim, who is also the FAM security chairman, to come up with new measures on crowd control at the stadium.

The crowd disturbance saw a group of unruly fans throw flares, fireworks and smoke bombs onto the pitch in 88th minute, forcing the match to be called off with Malaysia trailing 2-1.

FAM were subsequently fined RM180,000 by football world governing body, FIFA, who awarded the match to Saudi Arabia with a 3-0 scoreline.

Malaysia were also ordered to play their World Cup qualifying match against United Arab Emirates, which the national side lost 2-1, on Nov 17 behind closed doors.

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