Heysel Stadium disaster
The Heysel Stadium disaster (German: Katastrophe von Heysel [ˈhaɪzl̩]; French: Drame du Heysel [ɛzɛl]; Dutch: Heizeldrama [ˈɦɛizəlˌdraːmaː]) was a human stampede that occurred on 29 May 1985 when mostly Juventus fans escaping from a breach by Liverpool fans were pressed against a collapsing wall in the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, before the start of the 1985 European Cup Final between the Italian and English clubs. 39 people—mostly Italians and Juventus fans—were killed and 600 were injured in the confrontation.
|Date||29 May 1985|
|Filmed by||European Broadcasting Union|
|Participants||Hooligans of Liverpool and European supporters, mostly Juventus fans|
|Outcome||English clubs banned from European competition for five years; Liverpool for six years|
|Convicted||Several top officials, police captain Johan Mahieu, and 14 Liverpool fans convicted of manslaughter|
Approximately an hour before the Juventus–Liverpool final was due to kick off, Liverpool supporters charged at Juventus supporters and breached a fence that was separating them from a "neutral area." The cause of the rampage is disputed: many accounts attribute blame to the Italian fans for sparking the violence, but this claim is contested by other eye-witnesses and has been criticized for being unsubstantiated. Juventus fans ran back on the terraces and away from the threat into a concrete retaining wall. Fans already standing near the wall were crushed; eventually the wall collapsed, allowing others to escape. Many people climbed over to safety, but many others died or were badly injured. The game was played despite the pre-match incidents by authorities and organizers' joint decision for public policy doctrine reasons after being declared a state of siege in the city, with Juventus winning 1–0.
The tragedy resulted in all English football clubs being placed under an indefinite ban by Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) from all European competitions (lifted in 1990–91), with Liverpool being excluded for an additional two years, later reduced to one, and fourteen Liverpool fans found guilty of manslaughter and each sentenced to six years' imprisonment. The disaster was later described as "the darkest hour in the history of the UEFA competitions".