Home News Liverpool to play Juventus 20 years after Heysel tragedy

Liverpool to play Juventus 20 years after Heysel tragedy

Published on 05/04/2005

5 April 2005

BRUSSELS – The British football club Liverpool is to play Italian Juventus on Tuesday night – for the first time since the tragic match in Belgium when 39 people died.

The two clubs have been drawn against each other in the Champions League quarter-final and have decided to use the match to remember the Heysel Stadium victims of 29 May 1985.

Before the kick-off at Liverpool’s Anfield Road, there will be a minute’s silence for Pope John Paul II and for those who died at Heysel when fighting broke out and a wall collapsed as Juventus fans tried to flee.

The victims were 32 Italians and Belgian, French and Irish supporters.

In a symbolic gesture, UEFA has picked a Belgian referee for the match, which is being dubbed the Game of Friendship.

Frank De Bleeckere, who was 18 at the time of the tragedy, said he saw the fatal European Cup final in Brussels on the television.

He told La Derniere Heure: “Last week, on one of the Dutch channels, I saw the most poignant images of that Liverpool-Juventus nightmare again and I again heard some upsetting witness accounts. This Tuesday, I will referee the reunion match between the two clubs. I feel immensely proud.”

Liverpool will issue a memorial brochure for the match, containing another apology from the club for the behaviour of fans in 1985. After Heysel, English clubs were banned for five seasons from competing in the European Cup.

Ian Rush, Liverpool’s centre forward at the Heysel match, who went on to play for Juventus afterwards, has also written a personal message in the brochure calling for togetherness and is pictured in it wearing a split Liverpool and Juventus kit.

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry told the British radio station BBC Five Live the match would help create friendship between the two clubs and their fans.

“It will be poignant,” he said.

“I hope we can give a very warm welcome to the Juventus supporters.”

Every Juventus supporter at Tuesday’s match will be given a red, black and white armband with the word “friendship” written in English and Italian.

Liverpool fans are to build a mosaic, spelling out “Amicizia” – ‘friendship’ in Italian – made up of the Liverpool bird and the two teams’ colours.

Phil Neal, who captained Liverpool at Heysel, will lead Liverpool fans in carrying a banner to the Juventus stands, bearing the message: “In memoria e amicizia” – “In memory and friendship”.

“It is about friendship and looking forward,” said Parry.

“It’s not just about the clubs. It’s important that each set of fans build bridges to each other. We very much regret what happened.”

Juventus coach Fabio Capello, who was a reporter at the Heysel match, said he was “proud … to be meeting Liverpool again in remembrance of that sad event.”

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news