Victims of the 1985 Heizel Stadium disaster remembered

It is 35 years to the day since 39 football fans died at the Heizel Stadium in Brussels. They had come to our national stadium to watch the final of the European Cup between Liverpool and Juventus. Most of those that died were Italian football fans. On Friday morning the City of Brussels held a remembrance ceremony outside what is now called the King Boudewijn Stadium. 

The ceremony was held in front of a plaque that bears the names of the victims and due to the restrictions on public gatherings that are in force as part of the measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus only a small number of people were in attendance. These included the Mayor of Brussels Philippe Close (Francophone socialist), the Italian Ambassador to Belgium Elena Basile and the British Ambassador to Belgium Martin Shearman.

In his speech Mr Close said "The friendship between football clubs and supporters of what is the most popular sport in the world is what unites us. But what unites us above all is the lasting memory of the victims. We may never forget the names that are engraved here on this wall”.

32 of the 39 people that died in the Heizel Stadium on the evening of 29 May 1985 were Italians.

The Italian Ambassador Elena Basile said in her speech that "It was maybe even the first time that we had witnessed such an explosion of violence from supporters. A lot of mistakes were made, because Juventus even celebrated their victory".

English clubs were banned from European competition for the following five seasons and Liverpool was banned from Europe for a further year on top this.

In his speech the UK Ambassador to Belgium said "Sport and football can bring a lot of joy and this is something that we have missed during the corona crisis. We should never forget the lessons of this tragedy. Rivalry should always remain friendly and mutual understanding should always prevail over hostility”.

After the speeches those present laid flowers next to the plaque that bears the names of the 39 people that died during what was one of football’s darkest hours.

Top stories