Next year will mark 35 years since the tragic Heysel Stadium disaster, in which 39 European Cup Final match-goers lost their lives—many of whom were Juventus supporters. If you’re unaware of the events of that day, I highly suggest you inform yourself about what happened. For the sake of brevity however, here is a brief recounting of the disaster:
- Heysel Stadium, the national stadium of Belgium at the time, was in significant disrepair—players and fans were both shocked at the poor condition of the stadium, as fans without tickets were allegedly kicking holes in the weak outer walls of the stadium in order to get inside to watch the 1985 European Cup Final
- An hour prior to kick-off, tensions rose between Liverpool and Juventus supporters who were seated in adjacent sections—which were separated only by temporary fencing. A group of Liverpool fans broke through this barrier and bypassed the few police in the area, then subsequently charged at the Juventus fans in Section Z of the stadium
- The perimeter wall of Section Z could not withstand the commotion caused by the confrontation, and a portion of the wall collapsed. As a result, 39 people (38 Italians and one Belgian) were killed and approximately 600 others were injured
Quite a few details were spared from this description, so again, please do yourself a favor and inform yourself as much as you can about what happened on the night of May 29th, 1985 at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels. Ever since that night, both Juventus and Liverpool have put on touching tributes to those who lost their lives in the event, and continue to do so to this day.
This is a Fiorentina news site though, so what gives?
Video recently surfaced from a Curva Fiesole fan festival this past Saturday, where a group of fans were caught audibly singing offensive chants about the victims of the Heysel Stadium disaster.
Unfortunately, this act isn’t anything new—Fiorentina fans have an appalling history of making obscene and offensive gestures in reference to the Heysel tragedy whenever Juventus is next on the match schedule. While this behavior is largely restricted to a few fans in the Curva Fiesole (who are no strangers to being problematic), there is absolutely no place for it in the Artemio Franchi, nor anywhere else in the world. Especially not in front of those who have lost their loved ones as a result of the disaster.
This year, multiple ultras groups in Italy have shown their true colors through obscene displays of racism, antisemitism, and fascism, without facing anything resembling appropriate punishment. Italy is decades behind the rest of the Western world in their acknowledgement of hateful and offensive behavior—both inside and outside of their stadiums. While it’s easy to ignore all of this as a small group of distanced, English-speaking Fiorentina supporters, not speaking up against the Curva Fiesole’s behavior only enables more shameful demonstrations in the future. We’ll have something to say every time the tifosi act out of line, and we urge you to join us in not allowing this behavior to be normalized.
All of those responsible for the offensive chants, banners, and graffiti referencing the lives lost at Heysel Stadium should be utterly ashamed of their actions. There is no excuse for their behavior, and they should be required to publicly apologize and pay tribute to all of the Heysel disaster victims during tomorrow’s match against Juventus, or be permanently disallowed from the Artemio Franchi. Quite frankly, nothing less is acceptable (even though we don’t expect any actual repercussions considering how much Italian ultras always seem to get away with).
Nonetheless, Rocco Commisso deserves kudos for how quickly and seriously he condemned the guilty parties. That’s exactly the kind of behavior we want to see out of our new ownership—now we need to see it from the league.