Home » Football History » They went to a match and never came back (Part Eight)

They went to a match and never came back (Part Eight)

Continuing the series that looks at those thankfully rare times in football history when fans went to a football match but never made it home afterwards.

(For Part One click here; Part Two here; Part Three here; Part Four here; Part Five here; Part Six here and Part Seven here).

Less than one month after a crush at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow was to result in the loss of 66 lives, with scores more injured, a very different sort of tragedy was to occur on the other side of the world in Colombia.

Estadio Olimpico Stampede, Cali, Colombia

Colombia has had a troubled recent past.

For more than 40 years it had endured a bitter civil war with government forces battling left-wing guerrilla groups on the one hand, and right-wing paramilitaries on the other.

To add to that, the country is the biggest producer of cocaine in the world, making it  highly volatile place to live and work. There Is a serious risk of kidnapping and crime is rampant through mots parts of the country.

The Cauca Valley and its capital Cali is one of the most notorious areas in the whole of the country and is home to the Norte de Valley cartel, ne of the biggest drug trafficking operations in the world.

It also is home to two football teams, Deportivo Cali and América de Cali, who have come to despise each other, almost from the outset. After the first match they played in 1931,  América were banned from all tournaments for 12 months.

Derbies over the years have become not only passionate affairs but also violent ones. Each team has their own section of ultras, fans who have modelled themselves on the hooligans of England and Italy.

Individual acts of violence are common, with stabbings, assaults and even shootings regular occurrences.

However, what happened on 18th November 1982 took things to a completely new level.

After q match between the pair at América’s Pascual Guerrero Stadium finished in a three-all draw, a group of drunk fans congregated on the upper deck of one of the stands began to cascade a rain or urine and missiles on those below.  Thousands of fands stampeded for the exits to try and avoid the barrage, and a crush ensured. 24 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

Many of those caught up in the incident were women and children.

The city’s Mayor Julio Rissgo later blamed the disaster on a  group of youths who were drunk at the time.

Forty years later the stadium continues to see its fair share of violent incidents. América were fined US $36,000 by CONMEBOL for various issues that occurred in the second leg of the 2022 Copa Superamericano against Independiente Medellin, whilst, last month, their women’s team were ordered to play one match behind closed doors.

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