How an uncounted goal claimed 318 lives

Riots in the stands have, unfortunately, become commonplace in football. Fights between fans sometimes get more media attention than the match itself. But the biggest tragedy in the history of world football occurred on May 24, 1964. The reason for the death of hundreds of fans was just ... an uncounted ball.

On this day, in the city of Lima, the capital of Peru, the qualifying match for the right to take part in the Olympic tournament in Tokyo was held. On the field of the National Stadium, Peruvian football players met with rivals from Argentina. The guests, the Argentinean footballers, were the first to open the score in the match, and for a long time successfully kept the winning result.

The tragedy broke out at the very end of the match, when the hosts equalized 2 minutes before the end of the meeting. The draw was quite satisfactory for the Peruvians, in this case they received the coveted ticket to the Olympics. But the referee of the meeting, Angel Pazos, saw a violation of the home team, and showed with a gesture that the goal was not counted. The last hopes of the Peruvian fans for the participation of their national team in the Olympic tournament were dashed.

Riots broke out in the stands. One of the indignant fans ran out onto the field, wanting to deal with the referee. But the police stopped him and started beating him in front of tens of thousands of fans. A crowd of fans started a fight with the guardians of the law. In response, the police had to use tear gas.

Continuing the match was out of the question, the players were urgently taken to the locker rooms, and a much more fierce battle broke out on the field than an ordinary football match. Moreover, not only the fans who participated in the scuffle with the police suffered. Most of the football fans tried to urgently leave the stadium, which caused a crush at the exits from the stands. Many people were simply trampled.

Meanwhile, all this did not end with the battle at the stadium, thousands of fans of the Peruvian national team took a desperate step: they went to the house of President Fernando Belaunde with demands to recognize the decision of the football referee as illegal and to provide the Peruvian national team with the opportunity to play at the Olympics.

Soon the riots spread throughout the city. On the streets of Lima, pogroms and arson began, the city's hospitals did not have time to receive people who became victims of this "football war". The Peruvian government declared martial law in the country, which was lifted only a month later. In total, 318 people died in this tragedy and more than 500 were injured.

Argentine footballers went to the Tokyo Olympics, however, they performed there without brilliance, taking the last place in the group.