Coronavirus crisis restricts Heysel disaster remembrance

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BRUSSELS (AP) — Authorities on Friday marked the 35th anniversary of the Heysel Stadium tragedy where 39 people died during fan violence at the 1985 European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus in Brussels.

Flowers and wreaths were laid at a remembrance plaque early Friday at the King Baudouin Stadium, which was renovated and renamed after the tragedy. The ceremony was limited in size because of the coronavirus crisis.

Prior to the final, hooligans from a stand holding Liverpool fans smashed their way into an adjacent section holding Juventus supporters. In the ensuing chaos, the victims were either trampled or suffocated to death as they tried to flee the violence. Others died when a retaining wall collapsed.

The match controversially went ahead, allowing the authorities to restore a semblance of order in the chaos and arrange a relatively peaceful departure of the fans of both clubs. Juventus won 1-0.

The disaster was instrumental in improving stadium safety across the continent, and hooliganism has lost much of its violent edge.

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