Heysel Stadium Disaster

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The Heysel Stadium disaster occurred on 29 May 1985 when a masonry wall failed then collapsed under the pressure of escaping fans in the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, as a result of rioting before the start of the 1985 European Cup Final between Liverpool of England and Juventus of Italy. 39 people died, 32 of them Juventus fans, and 600 were injured.

Approximately one hour before the Liverpool-Juventus final was due to kick off, a large group of Liverpool fans breached a fence separating them from rival Juventus fans. The Juventus fans ran back and away from the threat into a concrete retaining wall. Fans already seated near the wall were crushed; eventually the wall collapsed. Many people climbed over to safety, but many others died or were badly injured. The game was played despite the disaster in order to prevent further violence.[citation needed]

The tragedy resulted in all English football clubs being placed under an indefinite ban by UEFA from all European competitions (lifted in 1990–91), with Liverpool being excluded for an additional year and a number of Liverpool fans prosecuted for manslaughter. The disaster was later described as "the darkest hour in the history of the UEFA competitions."[1]



Ten years prior, at the 1975 European Cup Final, fans of English club Leeds United had rioted, attacking rival Bayern Munich fans, players, and the match officials. The consequences of that event demonstrated the severity of punishment UEFA were prepared to impose – Leeds were banned for 4 years from all European competition.[2]

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