Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Heysel 1985 - Requiem For a Cup Final (2005)

Lode Desmet


On 29 May 1985 in Brussels' Heysel Stadium, the UEFA cup final between two of Europe's greatest teams, Liverpool and Juventus, was plunged into tragedy before the game even began. Thirty-nine fans - 32 of them Italian - died, crushed and suffocated, when a stadium wall collapsed, trapping the hundreds of Italians fleeing a charge led by Liverpool hooligans on the terraces. As the bodies laid out in front of the stadium were being transported to a military hospital a couple hours later, the final kicked off. Twenty years on, this documentary shows previously unbroadcast footage of the tragic events as they unfolded with interviews of Italians caught in the crush, and those who lost relatives and friends. It recounts the experiences of Belgian emergency workers who had to identify the victims - rendered unrecognisable in death - from their most personal possessions. Liverpool and Juventus players reflect on what they knew of the tragedy at the time and whether it was right to go out and play in the circumstances, as well as their role in the emergency efforts and attempt to calm traumatised fans. The documentary also offers an insight into the panic and confusion among those who took the decision to play the game - UEFA and Belgian FA officials, club representatives, international statesmen and the Belgian military. And how and why they reached the conclusion that to avoid further carnage, the final had to go ahead.


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