In most cases football is a reason for the world to come together. From The FIFA World Cup where nations go head to head in unity, to the UEFA Champions where nations get behind the best in the business. But there have also been tremendous tragedies at football matches, some of which cost lives.
National Stadium Disaster – 1964
The events that occurred at the National Stadium in Lima, Peru, are seen as the biggest football tragedy in history. During an Olympic qualifying match Peru went head-to-head with Argentina. It was already a heated event, given the often furious rivalry between the teams. The tension turned violent when Peru was disallowed 2 consecutive goals. Fans immediately assumed that match fixing was occurring and a deadly riot ensued.
The violent class was horrendous, taking the lives of 318 and injuring 500 more. Hopes are that such tragedy will never again unfold at a football match.
The Hillsborough Disaster – 1989
Sadly, many football tragedies are due to simple mismanagement at stadiums. Thankfully much more is done these days to control crowds. In 1989 anxious fans were waiting to enter Hillsborough Stadium. Liverpool was to face off against Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup match, and tensions were high. A gate was opened suddenly and thousands of fans rushed to enter. The stampede took 96 lives while 776 more were injured. In this case it perhaps should have been announced just how bad the overcrowding was. Many would probably have chosen to stay home and play Bingo for real money rather than risk their lives.
The Katmandu Disaster – 1988
In 1988 at the National Stadium in Katmandu tragedy unfolded due to unexpected weather. A total of 30,000 fans were packed into the stadium, eager to see Nepal fight it out against Bangladesh. Things went terribly wrong when a serious hailstorm began to tear through the crowds. Desperate to escape a battering from ice fans stampeded for the exits. A horrendous 93 were killed.
Port Said Stadium Disaster – 2012
One of the most recent tragedies occurred at Port Said Stadium in Egypt, 2012. A bitter rivalry had existed between fans of Al Masry and Al-Ahly for years. It turned out that this match was when the boiling point would finally be reached. Al Masry won the match 3-1, only for fans of the team to unexpectedly storm the field, cross to the opposite side, and attack their rivals with knives and broken bottles. The senseless riot resulted in 79 deaths and over 1,000 injuries. Local fans fiercely decry the riot to this day, and security has been dramatically stepped up at the stadium.
Estadio Monumental – 1968
Lastly, another that occurred due to poor planning, this time at a match between River Plate and Boca Juniors. Fans attempted to exit out a locked gate. Those trapped against the gate were crushed by those behind, resulting in 71 deaths. It is again a great blessing that stadiums are far better organised today, and such incidents are almost unheard of in recent years.