Approximately an hour before the Juventus-Liverpool Champions Cup final was due to kick off, Liverpool supporters charged at Juventus fans and breached a fence that was separating them from a “neutral area”. The cause of the rampage is disputed: many accounts, including Liverpool’s official website, attribute blame to the Italian fans for sparking the violence, but this claim is contested by other eye-witnesses and has been criticized for being unsubstantiated.
Juventus fans ran back on the terraces and away from the threat into a concrete retaining wall. Fans already standing near the wall were crushed; eventually the wall collapsed, allowing others to escape. Many people climbed over to safety, but many others died or were badly injured. The game was played despite the disaster, with Juventus winning 1–0.
The tragedy resulted in all English football clubs being placed under an indefinite ban by UEFA from all European competitions (lifted in 1990–91), with Liverpool being excluded for an additional three years, later reduced to one, and fourteen Liverpool fans found guilty of manslaughter and each sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. The disaster was later described as “the darkest hour in the history of the UEFA competitions”.