Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Heysel Stadium disaster
On May 29, 1985, Liverpool played Juventus in the European Cup final. In a widely criticized move, the Belgian authorities had allocated a section of the ground to neutral fans. This was an idea opposed by Liverpool and Juventus, as it would easily provide an arena for fans of both clubs to obtain tickets from Belgian ticket touts outside the ground and evade the segregation measures.
A flimsy wire fence had been erected to segregate the Liverpool fans from the neutral area. A contingent of Liverpool fans began to stampede towards the Juventus fans—some Liverpool fans alleged that this was a response to the act of throwing rocks and other missiles by Juventus fans—leading to the collapse of a retaining wall. In the panic that ensued many people were trampled or crushed resulting in the death of 39 people (1 Belgian and 38 Italian).
It was felt that to abandon the game would incite further trouble, and the match eventually kicked off. Juventus won 1-0 with a penalty from Michel Platini. To add further controversy to the game, video replays showed that the foul for the penalty was outside the box.
There has never been an inquiry into the causes of the disaster. It is widely suspected that the root cause of the disaster was the events of the 1984 final, when Liverpool had played AS Roma in Rome (the venue for the Final was picked months in advance, before it was known who would be playing). The English club had won the match, but their supporters were attacked afterwards by violent elements of Italian ultras: many others were locked out of hotels and abandoned by their coach drivers who were supposed to be taking them to the airport. The police were reportedly unwilling to help and the Liverpool fans had to seek refuge in the British embassy. This treatment had led to various hooligan firms setting aside their differences for the chance to collectively settle the score with another Italian club, and their presence could easily have combined with poor police tactics.
As a direct result of this event, The Football League banned Liverpool from participating in European competitions indefinitely, and all other English clubs for five years  - a move which UEFA ratified (many believe that The Football League acted first to avoid a heavier punishment from UEFA). The length of Liverpool's ban was eventually set at ten years, though this was later reduced to six. The Heysel stadium itself has since been completely rebuilt, and is now called the King Baudouin Stadium.
Juventus and Liverpool were drawn together in the quarterfinals of the 2005 Champions League, in the 20th anniversary year of the tragedy. This was the first time the clubs met in a competitive match since Heysel, although they had played several friendly matches in the meantime. Liverpool won the first leg of the encounter at home 2-1 with goals by Sami Hyypiä and Luis Garcia. The second leg, played in Turin, ended goalless, sending Liverpool through to the semifinals with a 2-1 aggregate victory. By the end of the match, Juventus fans turned their anger towards their team in the form of chants and boos.
Although many measures were taken to stop violence and anti-social behaviour during the 2005 matches, including highly public signs of forgiveness between major figures in the two clubs, both matches were marred with problems. Juventus supporters turned their backs on a banner of forgiveness and friendship brought into Anfield Stadium before the first leg; just hours before the second leg, a Liverpool supporter was bashed in a bar in Turin by a gang of Juventus supporters; and fans on both sides began to throw missles at each other minutes before kick-off of the second leg.
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