Built in the 1920ís, the Heysel Stadium had been condemned many years before for not living up to modern standards of security and design. Little money had been spent on it and parts of the stadium were crumbling. The match was to be the last ever on this stadium.
The tragedy was caused partly by the miserable state of the stadium and partly by the bad decisions made by the stadiumís management, and partly by the outspoken animosity between two hooligan groups.
It was an important match for Juventus and Liverpool. On 29 May 1985, thousands of English and Italians had come to Brussels to support their teams. The year before they had met in Rome, where it came to riots.
The management at Heysel made a fatal decision to create a so-called neutral area in between the two groups. Both fan groups had advised against it, but their advice was ignored. The neutral area was protected only by flimsy wire fences, which troublemakers quickly penetrated by crawling under them. Earlier that day, there had been severe riots, but instead of arresting people, the police rushed the hooligans to the stadium. Assembled at the stadium was a load of angry hooligans.
The violence began almost immediately. After a barrage of missiles from Italian fans in the neutral area came down on the Liverpool fans, they charged at and breached the separating fence.
In an attempt to escape from the Liverpool fans, the Italian supporters ran to the western end of the tribune where they got trapped by three crumbling concrete walls. With no avenue of escape the Italians simply piled up on top of each other and were trampled underfoot. Liverpool fans kept pushing the crowd backwards. The pressure was so strong that the concrete wall crushed and many people were killed under its weight.
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Links and references:
A report in Danish:
Information on the disaster from The Hillsborough Justice Campaign:
Information page from the BBC:
Information from the free encyclopedia: