Wednesday, 19 Jun 2024

The Heysel Stadium Disaster

It is a tragic twist of fate that Liverpool Football Club has been involved in two of the most devastating sporting disasters in history. However, it is important to remember that seeking justice for one tragedy should not diminish the significance of another. Disasters should never be used as leverage in a rivalry between fans.

In this article, we will provide an overview of the Heysel Stadium disaster, which claimed the lives of 39 people. This incident not only had far-reaching implications for Liverpool Football Club but also for the entire English game.

Heysel Stadium

Heysel Stadium, despite being Belgium’s national stadium, was in a state of disrepair by 1985. The stadium, over 50 years old at the time, had not been adequately maintained. The outer wall was made of a material that allowed unauthorized fans to kick holes in it and gain entry without tickets.

Both Juventus’ President and the Liverpool CEO had expressed concerns to UEFA about the stadium’s condition and urged them to choose another venue. However, UEFA chose to proceed with Heysel Stadium, ignoring the warnings and the fact that the final would feature two of the most passionate fanbases in Europe.

Another controversial decision made by UEFA was the allocation of a ‘neutral’ section in the stadium. Unfortunately, this section became a dangerous mix of both sets of fans due to ticket sales by unauthorized sellers outside the ground.

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The Disaster

Trouble began to escalate between Liverpool and Juventus supporters before the match even started. Stones were being thrown across the inadequate boundary separating the two fan sections. The situation grew increasingly tense, leading the Liverpool fans to charge through and overpower the police in an attempt to stop the stone throwing.

As Juventus fans fled towards a wall, it couldn’t withstand the force of the crowd and collapsed. The collapse relieved the pressure but caused the loss of 39 lives due to suffocation. Over 600 fans were also injured in the incident.

Despite the tragedy, the match was allowed to proceed. UEFA officials, the Belgian Prime Minister, and the Brussels Mayor believed that canceling the game could lead to further violence outside the stadium. Juventus ultimately won the match 1-0.

The Aftermath

The immediate aftermath of the disaster saw Liverpool fans shouldering much of the blame. However, an investigation revealed that several top officials and even the Belgian police captain shared some responsibility. Fourteen Liverpool fans and the Belgian police chief were convicted of manslaughter.

In response to the tragedy, the English government called for the withdrawal of English clubs from European competitions. UEFA then imposed a ban on all English clubs, which lasted for an unspecified period. English clubs were allowed to compete in European competitions again in 1990, with the exception of Liverpool, who remained banned for an additional year.

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Following Heysel, English clubs implemented stricter measures to prevent troublemakers from entering their stadiums, including a three-month ban for offenders. Despite this, Heysel Stadium was still used for events for almost a decade until it was rebuilt as the King Baudouin Stadium in 1994.

Both Liverpool Football Club and Juventus struggled to come to terms with the tragedy for many years. It took until 2010 for Liverpool to unveil a permanent plaque honoring the Heysel victims at Anfield’s Centenary Stand. Juventus also installed a Heysel Memorial at their J-Museum in Turin in May 2012.


Q: What happened at the Heysel Stadium disaster?
A: The Heysel Stadium disaster occurred when a wall collapsed due to the force of fans, resulting in the loss of 39 lives and over 600 injuries.

Q: Who was responsible for the Heysel Stadium disaster?
A: While Liverpool fans initially bore much of the blame, an investigation revealed that several officials and even the Belgian police captain shared responsibility.

Q: How did the Heysel Stadium disaster impact English clubs?
A: The disaster led to a ban on all English clubs from European competitions, with the exception of Liverpool, who faced a further year of suspension.


The Heysel Stadium disaster was a tragic event that claimed the lives of 39 people. It exposed the dire state of the stadium and its inadequate security measures. The incident had far-reaching consequences, resulting in a ban on English clubs from European competitions and impacting Liverpool and Juventus for years to come.

Despite the tragedy, efforts have been made to remember and honor the victims. Memorials have been erected at Anfield and Juventus’ J-Museum, serving as reminders of the importance of fan safety and the need to prevent such disasters from occurring again.

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For more information, visit and learn about the rich history of Liverpool Football Club while honoring the memories of those affected by the Heysel Stadium disaster.