Belgium

Heysel Stadium disaster

May 29, 1985
Brussels, Belgium
A riot between fans preceding the 1985 European Cup Final results in the deaths of 39 and the injuries of over 600

The riots began as fans from the Juventus and Liverpool football clubs threw rocks at each other. Eventually, some Liverpool fans started climbing a fence into a “no-man’s land” (an empty, neutral area of the stadium separating the two teams’ spectators) and attempted to breech the Juventus area. Juventus fans retreated from the threats of violence, causing many to be trampled to death or to suffocate. In addition to the damage to human life, a wall collapsed from the sheer force of bodies being pressed against it.

In total, 39 people — two were minors, ages 11 and 17 — were killed. An estimated 600 suffered injuries. Despite the disaster, the game continued.

The tragedy resulted in all English football clubs being banned from the Union of European Football Associations competitions until 1990. Liverpool was specifically banned for an additional 3 years, though the ruling was later reduced to one year. Additionally, 14 Liverpool supporters involved in the incident were convicted of manslaughter; all were sentenced to 3 years in prison.

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