While football has produced some of the most beautiful moments, not just in sports but also world history, the game has also seen its fair share of sad, horrific incidents. In this article, we will go through five of the worst football disasters in the sports' history in memory of the victims who went into the stadiums to witness the beautiful game but never got to return home:
1. Hillsborough stadium disaster
Date: April 15, 1989
Location: Sheffield, England
On April 15, 1989, an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest came to a halt when 96 Liverpool fans were killed at the Hillsborough Stadium after being crushed to death in the stands of the stadium.
The disaster took place as several Liverpool fans began streaming towards the Leppings Lane stand, allocated to them, at the stadium. It soon became evident that nobody would reach the stands in time for the game.
In an effort to control the over-crowding, Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, the police commander in charge of the game at the time ordered exit gate C to be opened. This, however, resulted in even more supporters getting into the already-overcrowded central pens.
More and more fans thereafter surged into the standing-only central pens forcing those in the front to be pushed up against the perimeter fence, by the weight of the crowd behind them. Desperate fans tried to climb the fence to escape the crush, others escaped by breaking a small gate but unfortunately, the rest struggled for air among the tight crowd.
The space behind the pen became so tight that people started to die out of compressive asphyxia. A total of 96 people died and 766 injured in what is now deemed the worst disaster in English football.
The police would later blame Liverpool fans of causing the death, claiming that they were drunk and uncooperative. The deaths were ruled accidental in the 1991 inquest. However, a new 2016 inquest jury ruled that the fans were unlawfully killed due to gross negligent failures by police and ambulance services.
The disaster was so impactful that it resulted in the elimination of fenced standing terraces, in favour of all-seater stadiums in the top two tiers of English football.