Football is the most popular game in the world. Universally referred to as the beautiful game, football is played by millions of people and watched by billions around the world each year, making it the most watched sport across the globe. In terms of TV ratings, sponsorship, visibility and fans-players engagement, no other sport is anywhere near the beautiful game.
Football also serves to bring different people and cultures together and can even bring enemies together, as witnessed in the Ivory Coast, when the national football team aided warring parties to come to a truce. On the other hand, football is no stranger to tragedies and disasters.
Yes, the beautiful game is some time really a matter of life and death. As per records, football is no stranger to death. Indian football also has seen several on and off the field the field tragedies. Here we look at five such incidents that happened in the Indian football circle.
The Kolkata Derby Tragedy (August 16, 1980)
The Kolkata derbies is the most watched football game in India. The derby between Indian football giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan is no stranger to riots as well. For the fans, it's more than just a game.
They are so emotionally attached to these clubs and their acts are sometimes so strange, that they are even ready to sacrifice their life too. They want to show their loyalty to the club at any cost.
A Kolkata derby match between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan in 1980 witnessed the worst mishap in Indian football history. The Calcutta Football League outing was taking place at the Eden Gardens.
Eden Gardens was the hub of Kolkata football back then as the Salt Lake Stadium was only inaugurated in 1984. Interestingly, both teams had to play their match with 10 men as Mohun Bagan winger Bidesh Bose was shown a red card and as a balancing act, the referee gave the marching orders to East Bengal defender Dilip Palit as well.
After the match finished in a one-goal draw, the fans who were disappointed with the results and some on-field verbal disputes, created chaos in the stands. They broke police barricades and at that time the security measures were not as tight as now. Fans were thrown from upper stand to lower concrete stands and the police could not control the aggressive fans.
Ultimately the worst woe in Indian football history cost lives of sixteen young football fanatics.