Heysel Stadium tragedy 20th anniversary
The Heysel Stadium disaster was a black mark on soccer as a sport. The Heysel Stadium disaster continues to resonate today with changes in the way soccer matches are held and violence dealt with.
This week is the 20th anniversary of the Heysel Stadium disaster and the background is pretty awful:
A flimsy wire fence had been erected to separate 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 (32 Italians, 4 Belgians, two Frenchmen and an Irishman).
The anniversary was marked with a gathering of officials and a statue unveiling. The Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans said:
"It is this day that the most terrible page of soccer history was written."
The statue is described as:
A stainless steel pillar rises from white marble and W.H. Auden's poem, "Funeral Blues", is etched on 39 remembrance stones. As the names of the victims were read, hundreds of Juventus fans from several countries applauded.