Across the globe, sporting events are a way for people from different backgrounds and walks of life to share a sense of togetherness. When you are at a stadium filled with thousands of other people all cheering on the same team, there is a definite sense of camaraderie.
Likewise, there are also people who are your rival, rooting for the other team.
Considering millions of sporting events take place every year throughout the world, there are bound to be some dust-ups among rival fans, but overall the games and matches take place without a hitch.
Unfortunately, when things go wrong, they really go wrong and at times it’s even beyond the athletes or fans’ control.
Take a look at the 10 worst tragedies that have occurred at sporting events around the world and remember to be part of the solution, not the problem!
The Munich Massacre – Munich, Germany
A Palestinian group called “Black September” kidnapped, then killed 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Summer Olympics. Five of the eight attackers were killed during the rescue attempt as the world watched in horror at what was unfolding in Munich, Germany.
Accra Sports Stadium Stampede – Accra, Ghana
A riotous stampede at Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra, Ghana on 1st May 2001 left 127 dead during a match between Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club and Asante Kotoko. Disappointed Kotoko supporters began throwing bottles and seats on the field immediately following Accra’s win. Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd which in turn resulted in the fierce stampede. Police were later blamed for over-reacting and inciting the stampede.
The Hillsborough Disaster – Sheffield, England
96 people were killed and 766 more were injured in a “human crush” at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England on April 15, 1989. Minutes before the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest began, standing room only central pens allocated for Liverpool fans were already full, but it didn’t stop people attempted to forcefully enter the stadium, causing pandemonium at the overcrowded pens. With no one directing the influx of people to the lesser populated side pens, police opened an emergency gate to relief the burden on the massive crowd blocking the turnstiles outside, but it made the crowds worse. Hundreds of fans were trapped in collapsed fencing, prompting several changes to the design of football stadiums across the world. It is one of the most tragic football events not only in England but worldwide.
The Heysel Stadium Disaster – Brussels, Belgium
On May 29, 1985, 39 people died during the European Cup match between Juventus (Italy) and Liverpool (England) in Brussels, Belgium. Before the match started, Liverpool fans rushed a fence towards Juventus supporters and escaping fans were pinned against a collapsing wall in Heysel Stadium. Most of the deaths and 600 injured were Italians, leading English clubs to be banned from European competition for five years, with Liverpool being handed a six-year ban. 14 people were later convicted of manslaughter.
The Kathmandu Stadium Disaster – Kathmandu, Nepal
One of the largest stadium calamities in the world, and the largest in Nepal, happened on March 12, 1988 at Dasarath Stadium in Kathmandu. As a match between Janakpur Cigarette Factory and Liberation Army of Bangladesh was taking place, a large hailstorm began causing mass panic as spectators were being pelted with large hail. The crowd fled to the only cover in the open-air stadium – the west stands – but were held back by police with force. The fans rushed to the south terrace where a human crush developed in the tunnel as the stadium doors were locked, resulting in at least 93 fatalities and more than 100 people injured.
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Port Said Stadium Riot – Port Said, Egypt
A massive riot occurred at Port Said Stadium in Egypt following an Egyptian Premier League football match between El Masry and El Ahly on February 1, 2012. 74 people were killed and more than 500 spectators injured as a result of thousands of El Masry fans stormed the stands and the field following the team’s 3-1 win over El Ahly. El Masry supporters attacked opposing fans and the football team itself using knives, swords, clubs, stones, bottles, and fireworks as weapons. 73 defendants – including nine police officers and two officials from Port Said’s Al-Masry club – were charged in the aftermath and as a result of the riot, the Egyptian government shut down the league for two years.
The Bradford City Stadium Fire – Bradford, England
The Valley Parade stadium in Bradford, England caught fire during a league match between Bradford City and Lincoln City on May 11, 1985 killing at least 56 people and injuring more than 265. A small fire was noticed, but within minutes, spread throughout the antiquated stadium due to its wooden roof and aided by windy conditions. Many people were trapped in their seats while others broke down the emergency exit to escape. Afterward, over 50 people were honored for their bravery during the tragic event.
Oppenheimer Stadium Disaster – Orkney, South Africa
On January 13, 1991, 42 people were killed during a riot and stampede at a preseason friendly between the Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Oppenheimer Stadium’s capacity was 23,000 but more than 30,000 showed up to attend the match. After refs upheld a goal scored by the Chiefs, Pirates fans started throwing cans and attacking Kaizer supporters with knives. As the crowd tried to flee the melee, a stampede occurred and people were trampled or crushed to death against the riot-control fences.
The Cairo Stadium Accident – Cairo, Egypt
28 fans were killed outside Cairo Stadium after a clash with police on February 8, 2015. As a massive crowd began to form outside the stadium, spectators were ushered through a makeshift turnstile, causing a bottleneck effect. Police are said to have aided in the fatal human crush and suffocation of the victims after firing tear gas into the crowd and causing widespread pandemonium, which resulted in the fence coming down by the force of the panicked fans.
Armand Cesari Stadium Disaster – Bastia, Corsica, France
On May 5, 1991, 18 people died and 2,300 other were injured when one of the terraces of Armand Cesari Stadium collapsed during the semi-final match of the French Cup between SC Bastia and Olympique de Marseille. The stadium seating was increased by 50-percent in order to accommodate the expected larger crowd, but a report released following an investigation concluded that there had been a number of violations concerning the construction of the temporary terrace and that the tragedy was avoidable. A number 0f people served short sentences after being found responsible.