These events stunned the whole planet
Football may be a beautiful game, but it has its drawbacks. It has seen the loss of human life on several instances in the past. However, while technological advancements have resulted in fewer disasters, we nonetheless face many such incidents in football. The footballing world recently witnessed another such horrific mishap that has led to the deaths of many fans.
On that note, we look at the top ten most heinous football disasters.
10. The National Stadium disaster, May 24, 1964
The National Stadium disaster continues to haunt many fans who went to watch the Argentina vs Peru game – two of South America’s most ambitious countries – at Lima’s National Stadium. The match was already tense because both countries were vying for an Olympics spot. Everything was fine until Peru was disallowed two goals, which sparked a physical protest from Peru fans on the field that further turned violent, killing 318 people and injuring 500.
9. The Ghana disaster, May 9, 2001
Accra Sports Stadium experienced one of the worst days in Ghana’s sporting history when two big clubs of the Ghana league, Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko, crossed paths. Police fired tear gas on the stands, causing a terrible uproar and unrest in the stadium. With 70,000 fans trying to get out of the stadium at once, 126 people died and plenty were injured.
8. The Guatemala disaster, October 18, 1996
Death toll: 80+
Many fans wanted to see their country play in the stadium in a World Cup qualifying match as Costa Rica and Guatemala were pitted against each other. Many ticketless fans tried forcing their way into the stadium, causing a deadly stampede during the match that killed nearly 80 people and injured 180 fans.
7. The Hillsborough disaster, April 15, 1989
This incident disturbed many English people – particularly Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard – and was regarded as one of the scariest disasters in English history. It happened when Liverpool played Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup match, and thousands of fans were waiting outside the stadium for the gates to open. When the police opened the gates, a stampede ensued, killing at least 96 people, one of whom was Gerrard’s cousin.
6. Port Said Stadium disaster, February 1, 2012
This was one of the most tragic deaths of football fans, and many teams condemned the fans who engaged in violent behavior during this game. Many football fans remember when Al Masry and Al-Ahly played each other, and the former won 3-1. This caused an outbreak between Masry and Ahly fans as Masry fans swarmed over to the rival fans carrying knives, bottles, and swords, killing 79 people and injuring over a 1000.
5. Puerta 12 Tragedy, June 23, 1968
This tragedy occurred during one of Argentina’s most heated rivalries – Boca Juniors and River Plate. Although this time, it was unrelated to a match. A group of fans was heading towards the exit gate after full-time, which was closed, causing both fans to collide as spectators in front were crushed against the gates by fans behind them, who couldn’t see the gate was closed. This took the lives of 71 spectators and injured a large number of others.
4. The second Division Ibrox disaster, January 2, 1971
Another terrifying disaster occurred when the Scottish league hosted one of the league’s big games, with Rangers playing Celtic, and the latter having the match in hand. This prompted Rangers’ fans to leave the stadium. However, as the fans attempted to leave, a huge barrier on the stairway formed, trapping them, killing 66 fans and hurting 200 others.
3. Bradford City stadium disaster, May 11, 1985
One of the silliest mishaps occurred at Bradford City when a fan threw a cigarette down the terrace where garbage was kept. His cigarette dropped on the pile of garbage, sparking a fire. The flames burnt more quickly when the garbage was set under the wooden stand which had been kept there for 20 years. The fire started spreading all over the terrace, the wooden roof turned into tar and started falling on fans who were in the stands below. This led to the deaths of nearly 56 fans and 450 casualties.
2. Kathmandu disaster, March 12, 1988
The Kathmandu disaster was one of the few tragedies triggered by natural disasters. Around 30,000 fans were watching a match between Bangladesh and Nepal in the stadium when a hailstorm appeared out of the blue and hit the fans, and when the spectators tried to rush out of the stadium, it caused a stampede. 93 were pronounced dead in the hailstorm.
1. Indonesia Stampede disaster, October 2, 2022
Many believed that football had evolved and that enough precautions were taken to prevent such mishaps. However, the Indonesia stampede proved them all wrong. A tragic incident took place in an Indonesia game as Arema FC’s loss to bitter rivals triggered many fans to get on the pitch, resulting in a terrifying stampede.
The stampede transpired when police used tear gas on the fans who had invaded the pitch. As things worsened, many fans fled to the Kanjuruhan stadium’s exits, where many spectators were suffocated, killing 125. Many fans clambered over the fences to escape, and many dead bodies were on the floor, according to social media clips.