State Police Blamed in Soccer Riot

From Times wire services

The prosecutor in the Heysel soccer riots trial urged today that two Belgian state police officials be convicted for badly organizing security at the 1985 European Champions’ Cup match, when 39 people died in the disaster.

Prosecutor Pierre Erauw was more lenient with two city officials and two high-level European soccer officials, who were sued by relatives of the victims and fans injured in Europe’s worst-ever soccer riot. He said they should not be punished.

On Wednesday Erauw also is expected to call for a severe sentence of the 26 British suspects, who face up to 10 years imprisonment on involuntary manslaughter charges for allegedly instigating the riot prior to the May 29, 1985, Cup final between FC Liverpool and Juventus Turin.

Twenty of the 26 Britons returned to Belgium this week for a mandatory appearance during Erauw’s final arguments. They are expected to be allowed back to await the end of the trial, expected for March.


On Monday, Erauw said Albert Roosens, secretary general of the Belgian soccer federation at the time of the tragedy, should be blamed for badly organizing the match.

Today, he declared that state police officials Johan Mahieu and Michel Kensier were responsible for badly organizing security at the match and for not taking sufficient action to stem the riot.