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Photos and Reflections on Heysel Stadium Disaster (1985 European Cup Final)


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#1 Don Quixote

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 02:51 AM

On the 29th of May, 1985, Liverpool FC and Juventus FC met at Heysel Stadium in Brussels to contest the European Cup Final. Both clubs had objected to UEFA's choice of the dilapidated grounds as the venue for the match, but UEFA would not budge on the matter; the clubs also objected to one of the three sections of the stands behind the left goal being designated as neutral seating for Belgian fans (Juventus supporters had all three sections behind the opposite goal), as this could potentially create a dangerous mix of fans both inside that section, and between that section and the Liverpool sections. This arrangement ultimately caused this third section to be occupied mostly by Juventus supporters (both local Italian expatriates, and other supporters who travelled to the match), indeed putting Juventus supporters and Liverpool supporters in very close proximity, with inadequate resources to keep them separate - a recipe for disaster in an age of widespread hooliganism in football.

 

Prior to the match, tensions and hooliganistic behavior between the two opposing groups escalated, leading to a charge by Liverpool supporters into the "neutral" area. Fleeing Juventus fans created a crush on the section's perimeter wall, which partially collapsed. In the chaos, 39 people - mostly Italians and Juventus supporters - died, primarily as a result of the crush, not the collapse, and over 600 were injured. Unrest from Juventus supporters from the other side of the stadium continued during the match, which was contested due to fear that a postponement would lead to further violence.

 

This incident would be known as the Heysel Stadium Disaster, which marked the end of Liverpool's era of European dominance, and set back full participation of English competitive club football in Europe for essentially a full decade (half of which was an outright ban). Photographer Eamonn McCabe, at the time known for his coverage of sporting events (he is a four-time winner of the UK's Sports Photographer of the Year Award), was present at Heysel. Using a point-and-click Nikon SureShot, he began to take pictures of the unfolding events, not yet sure of what he was seeing. These captured images (several of which are in the article linked below) led to him receiving the News Photographer of the Year award. McCabe reflects on the disaster, and its impact on him, for BBC Arts.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...changed-my-life






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