Discover the Bloodiest Sports Riots of All Time

When it come violent outbursts, none have been more outrageous than sports riots. Throughout history people have let their passion for games turn them into blood thirsty beasts. While most of us are tame in our natural environment, sports have the uncanny ability to unveil our primitive roots.

No one wants to lose, but some people are intent on raising hell if things don’t go their way. This sentiment gets compounded when you have large stadiums filled with people who share the same passion. Once things get out of control, the raging emotions spread throughout the crowd like wildfire. These situations are extremely dangerous, thousands of people have lost their lives over their favorite sports. We have compiled a list of the deadliest sports riots in human history. Prepare to be shocked by the brutality of sports fans!

Bloodiest Sports Riots

Sports riots are unfortunate events that can occur when emotions run high, and crowds become unruly. These incidents often involve violence, property damage, and clashes between fans and law enforcement. While I won’t categorize these events based on “bloodiness,” here are some notable sports riots in history:

  1. Heysel Stadium Disaster (1985):
    • The Heysel Stadium disaster occurred during the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus in Brussels, Belgium. Before the match, a large group of Liverpool fans charged at Juventus supporters, leading to a stampede. The incident resulted in 39 deaths and numerous injuries.
  2. Port Said Stadium Riot (2012):
    • A football match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly in Port Said, Egypt, turned violent when fans rushed onto the field. The clashes resulted in 74 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The incident led to widespread outrage and raised questions about the management of football matches in Egypt.
  3. Rosario Central vs. Newell’s Old Boys (1974):
    • A football match between Rosario Central and Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina turned into a violent riot known as the “Rosario derby.” Clashes between rival fans led to deaths and injuries, and the violence continued in the streets after the match.
  4. Serbia-Albania Football Match (2014):
    • A Euro 2016 qualifying match between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade turned chaotic when a drone carrying an Albanian nationalist flag entered the stadium. The incident led to violent clashes between players and fans, resulting in injuries and a suspension of the match.
  5. Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot (2011):
    • Following the Vancouver Canucks’ loss in the Stanley Cup Final, riots broke out in Vancouver, Canada. The violence included looting, arson, and clashes with police. Numerous injuries were reported, and the event led to widespread condemnation.
  6. Pakistani Football Riots (2014):
    • Riots erupted during a football match in Lahore, Pakistan, when spectators became violent after a disputed decision by the referee. The situation escalated, resulting in deaths and injuries, and the match had to be abandoned.

It’s crucial to emphasize that sports riots are isolated incidents, and the vast majority of sports events are enjoyed peacefully by fans. Authorities and sports organizations continually work to enhance security measures and prevent such incidents from occurring.

3 of the Deadliest Sports Riots

Bloodiest Sports Riots
This violent sports riot got football banned in Egypt for 2 years!

Sports Riot #3: Port Said Stadium Riot, Egypt – On February 1st, 2012, tragedy struck during a Premier League football match. The competing teams El Masry & El Ahly were bitter rivals. Tensions were unusually high between the two groups, so the game was a disaster waiting to happen. Every time their team scored a goal, El Masry fans invaded the pitch. This repeated until the end of the game, when things turned horribly violent. Armed with knives & bottles, fights broke out across the stadium. By the time police broke up the melee 72 people were killed, over 500 were injured & 47 people got arrested. This bloody spectacle got football banned in Egypt for 2 years.

sports riots
This game will forever live in infamy.

Sports Riot #2: Tragedy in Lima, Peru – On May 24th, 1964, Peru was participating in a crucial match against Argentina. The stakes were high, since the winner would qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. By the end of the game, Argentina was winning 1-0. Just 2 minutes before the clock ran out, Peru scored a goal that was disallowed by the Uraguayan referee. Enraged by the referee’s decision, the crowd stormed the field. Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, but this turned out to be a terrible decision. Unable to breathe because of the tear gas, the crowd panicked & rushed the exits. The stadium’s corrugated gates became a death trap for the stampede of frantic fans. In the end 328 people were crushed to death & over 500 people were injured in their fateful rush to escape.

A simple chariot race turned into a massacre.

Sports Riot #1: Nika Riots, Ancient Rome – This terrifying riot proves that sports have always been a source of mayhem. In 532 AD, the threat of war with Persia & a new wave of taxes had infuriated the Roman people. Attempting to smooth things over, Emperor Justinian hosted a massive chariot race. Unfortunately this proved to be a bad move. The chariot racers consisted of two teams, blue & green. The fans were bitter rivals, but they had one common enemy. By the end of the races multiple people had been murdered & both sides united to overthrow the emperor. After laying siege to the palace for 5 days, they crowned a new emperor. Refusing to step down, Emperor Justinian came up with a devious plan. He sent out a eunuch with a bag of gold coins to infiltrate the crowning of the new emperor. Once inside the crowd, the eunuch reminded the blue chariot supporters that Justinian supported their team & the new emperor was really against them. Infuriated by this news, all the blue supporters left the coronation. With half the crowd dispersed, Justinian ordered the army to slaughter the rest of the spectators. By the end of the massacre over 30,000 people were brutally murdered & half the city of Constantinople was destroyed. So much for smoothing things over!