Indonesian footballers are being urged to keep their feet off the ground to avoid damaging their knees after a spike in injuries and deaths.
The International Football Association (IFAB) has advised players to avoid shoes in stadiums for the foreseeable future after an unprecedented spike in the number of serious knee injuries and fatalities across the country in the last two years.
The IFAB said on Wednesday that the number had reached more than 15,000 in 2016, a 40 per cent increase on the year before.
More than 1,600 players have been reported injured, while another 5,400 have died, the IFAB’s World Cup committee said in a statement.
Indonesia’s Football Federation (IFF) said the increase in injuries could be attributed to an increase in playing surfaces and the use of artificial turf.
It said the number could have been lower due to improved rehabilitation for players and an increase of fans who came out to watch games.
“There is no doubt that playing on artificial turf can lead to injury,” the IFF said.
“We advise the athletes to keep playing in their natural state.”
Football has been banned from stadiums in the country since January last year following the fatal suicide of a player in a stadium.
It is banned from outdoor sports such as running, wrestling, soccer and basketball.
The football season is now due to start on July 9.
Football was banned for two years from indoor facilities until the end of the 2020-21 season.