Football (or soccer, as it’s known in the States) is the world’s most beloved game. From back alley matches to the World Cup, most everybody’s kicked a ball at some point, and its fans are some of the most dedicated in the world. “Hooliganism” sometimes goes too far, though, and the ensuing antics can make for a menacing scene — sometimes even a deadly one.
10. Millwall vs. Luton
Fans began tearing seats out of the stadium and hurling them onto the field at a Millwall / Luton match in 2009. However, no longer content with smashing each other with shattered wood pieces in the stands, the fans soon stormed the field to resume their antics. Officials and other staff fled as the spectators hurled projectiles at them relentlessly, and police were hugely outnumbered by the rioters.
9. Polish Football Riot
One man was killed, three were injured and police were stoned as fans went at each other with axes and knives at a 2003 match in Poland. 120 people were arrested following the fighting, which was so violent that the Polish national football association’s head, Michal Listkiewicz, blamed the insubordination on thugs “posing as fans.”
8. Riot In Prague
Rioting erupted between Czech and Croatian fans, necessitating the involvement of riot police, and leaving innumerable fans bloodied, as fighting broke out in the city capital’s center square. Among the various projectiles exchanged between the rioters — which included bottles, rocks and flares — gunshots can be heard throughout the video footage.
7. Fenerbahce Riot
Police were hit with rocks, flares and plastic chairs during rioting in Turkey last May. Windows were smashed and streets were littered with debris while angry fans unleashed havoc, even turning over police cars and setting them on fire. The dispute wasn’t just contained to public demonstration; elsewhere in the country, a fan was stabbed by rival supporters. Law enforcement needed to use riot protection gear to shield the visiting players from the chaos.
6. Birmingham vs. Leeds 1985
In 1985, a Birmingham – Leeds match suddenly turned ugly, as the entire stadium erupted in rioting. Spectators from both sides stormed the field until police managed to clear the field. However, it soon filled with more rioters, who threw missiles at each other and trampled fences. They then began tearing apart wooden barriers in order to use the pieces as projectiles as well. Eventually police on horseback managed to force the rowdy spectators out of the grounds, where rioting continued outside.
5. 1974 UEFA Cup Final
Tottenham Hotspur vs Feyenoord in 1974 resulted in angry English fans rioting and ripping seats out of the stadium, throwing them onto the field and at each other. Dutch staff announced over the loudspeakers that Spurs fans were disgracing themselves and the game, and they were banned from the city.
4. Greeks Set Fire To Stadium
Last year in Greece, fans erupted in vicious rioting before setting fire to the stadium. Several hundred people attempted to storm into the venue without tickets while fans, equipped with clubs, fire bombs made of gasoline and ammonia and flares, engaged in fighting with stadium police forces. When molotov cocktails began to get flung out onto the field, the referee called the game, at which point the rioting fans began lighting the stadium on fire until fire trucks entered the venue and extinguished the blazes…until the firefighters were also attacked by fans. All in all, 57 people were detained and the rioting was eventually pushed out of the stadium, where it continued outside. 9 police officers were injured in the episode.
3. Heysel Riot, Belgium
During the 1985 European Cup Final, rowdy Liverpool supporters began attacking Juventus fans, charging through a line of police to get at them. Juventus fans, in their panic, collapsed an entire stadium wall trying to escape them. The wall crushed dozens of spectators, and even more were trampled to death during the chaos. The official death toll was 39, with 350 injured and possibly more unreported cases.
2. Riots In Egypt
Rioting last year in Egypt at a Port Said-Cairo match resulted in some of the worst casualty counts in history as well as property damage throughout the city. Over 70 people were killed during the initial rioting, making it one of the deadliest football riots in history. Rioting and property damage continued following a court ruling that sentenced 21 to death for inciting the chaos. Some speculate that the perpetrators were hired thugs, and not just regular hooligans.