‘The Worst Crowd Control I Have Ever Seen': Football Match Versus Australia Highlights Kyrgyzstan's Public Order Problems

Kyrgyzstan's national stadium, Spartak, when it is not hosting the Australian national team.

Kyrgyzstan's national stadium, Spartak, when it is not hosting the Australian national team. Taken from user-generated content producer Snipview.

“Now you can understand why we have already seen two successful revolutions,” writes Nurlan Bolturukov of the chaos outside the ground on June 16 as Kyrgyzstan took on Australia — one of the biggest matches for the Central Asian state in its 22-year history — in a FIFA World Cup qualifying game.

In the end, Kyrgyzstan gave the ‘Socceroos’, currently champions of Asia, a good game. Trailing 1-0 at half time, Kyrgyzstan conceded a second Australian goal in the second half before registering a consolation goal with an impressive strike — direct from a corner kick — towards the end of the game.

But popular demand for the game was high and the Kyrgyz authorities are not known for their ability to control massive crowds. For the duration of the match, hundreds of fans that had paid for tickets — some local, some that had travelled from Australia — were left standing outside the ground being pegged back by police while people that presumably had not paid anything scrambled over the fencing into the stadium.

In the video above, made by Kyrgyz media outlet Kloop.kg, the first interviewee, speaking in Russian, says:

We recently bought many tickets having come to support our football team, but it seems it was not destiny. Why? Because a huge number of people got into the stadium without tickets, I guess, using the available infrastructure surrounding the ground. Look at the tower – capture the people there. And none of this happened without the help of our kind-hearted police.

As he is speaking three people walk past criticising the organisers.

The third interviewee, also speaking in Russian promises to sue the organisers and the security services:

Here we observe the elemental lawlessness, disorganisation and all-out anarchy in this country. Even a fun event like football — they made such a big advert [of this match] even this they could not organise […] It is the most vivid representation of today's authorities and their security services.

The videos below show people climbing over the gate into the stadium and angry fans who have paid to see the game with their families remonstrating with security guards.


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