Top 4 worst incidents in football
Football is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, sports worldwide. It is also arguably the most intense, so the passion you meet to a football fan is stronger than the passion you meet to a fan of some other sport. Proof of this being the existence of ultras groups, organized associations of football fans renowed for ultra-fanatical support, predominantly followers of association football clubs; those ultras can apply to hooliganism and violence, therefore causing incidents and disasters. But it ain’t all down to these fans, tbh, plain crashes can also cause real damage. Without further ado, three of the worst disasters in football:
Dinamo Zagreb vs Red Star Belgrade riot – 13 May 1990
At the time the game was played, the situation in the post-communist Yugoslavia was tense, each country slowly pushing for its independence. Free multi-party elections took place in each component republic of Yugoslavia; in Croatia, they were won by the radical Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), a radical right-wing party strongly supporting independence. With HDZ’s victory in the elections, the winds of war were about to break down; people only needed an excuse, something to fuel up the hate enough to actually cause a war. The occasion came: the league match between Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade, at Maksimir Stadium, Zagreb. The match itself was already known as a derby in Yugoslavia, but the political situation further fueled the hatred between the fans of these two teams.
The ultras groups of both teams clashed; in the streets, but mainly in the stadium, where stones, torn-off seats and even knives were thrown from one side to the other. Police showed up shortly thereafter, using baton striking and tear gas to break down the riot, but also particularly starting violence towards Dinamo’s ultras. Dinamo Zagreb’s then captain, Zvonimir Boban foresaw a Croatian supporter being attacked by a Yugoslav poiliceman and, in an emotional gesture, punched said policeman in his face. This particular act is still said to have started the Croatian War of Independence.
Heysel Stadium disaster – 29 May 1985
An hour before the 1985 European Cup Final between Liverpool and Juventus, a group of Liverpool fans breached a fence separating them from an area containing Juventus fans. In an attempt to avoid the oncoming threat, many Juventus fans would fall back only to be stopped by a concrete wall. Those fans who were trapped by the wall were crushed to death by the sheer weight of people fleeing the Liverpool supporters. Despite the 39 deaths and 600 people injured, the match would go on to be played the next day and Juventus won its first European Cup despite the players’ morale being strongly affected by the events.
Brentford City stadium fire – 11 May 1985
Irony makes this incident having happened in the same month, in the same year, as the Heysel ordeal, except it was weeks prior. During a routine match between Bradford and Lincoln City, tragedy would strike when the stadium’s main stand caught fire. As the stand was mainly a wooden construction, the fire took less than four minutes to engulf the stand entirely. Burning timbers and molten materials fell from the roof onto the crowd and seating below, and black smoke enveloped a passageway behind the stand, where many spectators were trying to escape. Worsened by the windy conditions the blaze trapped and killed 56 fans and injured 265 more. It is thought that the fire was started by a discarded cigarette or match.