TOP 6 | Football Matches Played Behind Closed Doors

(Posted on 02/10/17)

Football is a wonderful game that’s made even greater by the fans who make it, the roar of the crowd and the passion of the supporters is the lifeblood of the beautiful game. However, at times fans have been denied the chance to watch their stars in action when matches are forced to be played behind closed doors.

Following the weekend’s game between FC Barcelona and Las Palmas being played out privately, we take a look at seven incidents where this has happened.

 

6- FC BarcelonaLas Palmas (2017)

In what was a big game for Las Palmas fans being able to travel to one of the greatest footballing venues in the world, and was a chance for Lionel Messi and co to pick up a routine three points, the game at the Nou Camp was played behind closed doors due to the unrest of the ‘illegal’ Catalan referendum. With worries about safety to the supporters the ground was closed off and the La Liga fixture was played out in front of a handful of stewards and staff who had an unexpected day off. The sight of empty seats wasn’t enough to put Barca off as a goal from Sergio Busquets and a Messi brace sealed three points for the home side. Before the game Ernesto Valverde’s side wore the traditional colours of Catalonia whilst the words ‘Democracy’ was left on the scoreboard throughout the game.

5- Juventus v Lecce (2009)

Italian football was certainly in the spotlight following the major scandal that came to light in the mid-2000. But away from the turbulent financial controversy, Juventus had been relegated and won promotion by the time this next instalment of incidents came around. This time, in a game against Inter, fans were responsible for racist abuse aimed at a young Mario Balotelli and subsequently made to play behind closed doors. The Juventus Stadium became a ghost town as the game ended 1-1, Gianluigi Buffon gifted the 10-man visitors an equaliser, thank goodness nobody was there to see it…

4- West Ham United v Castilla (1980)

Following a UEFA Cup First Leg loss for the Hammers, the second leg was forced to be played behind closed doors following reports of rioting in Madrid. Other than the playing staff there were 262 members of admin staff watching on as West Ham went 3-0 up to muted applause. Castilla eventually hit back in extra-time dumping the English side out of the competition. This wasn’t the first time West Ham or English football had seen games played privately, as this was during the heightened popularity of football hooliganism.

3- Aston Villa v Beskitas (1982)

Aston Villa’s European Cup defence started to the sound of silence in 1982, as they met Beskitas behind closed doors at Villa Park. Following crowd trouble the previous season from fans at the Semi-Final against Anderlecht, UEFA punished them with a £14,500 fine and the stadium closure. Beskitas wanted the Villains expelled from the competition, but this was denied. Villa went on to win the home game 3-1 before drawing 0-0 in Turkey.

 

2- Fenerbahce v BATE (2013)

Not shy to crowd trouble in Turkey, Fenerbahce were forced to play away from the public eye in 2013 following an incident in their previous Europa League game against Borussia Monchengladbach. Fans set off fireworks inside the ground which was enough for UEFA to not permit fans into the ground. When the match against BATE kicked off, fans outside the stadium watching on a poorly thought out big screen set off more pyrotechnics which flew over the stand and on to the pitch inside the stadium. Following this delay the Turkish side went on to win  1-0.

 

1-      America v Tecos (2009)

When thinking of why a game would be off limits to supporters, you normally think of the reasons of the other five games on this list. However, a major virus sweeping the nation isn’t one you’d normally think of. In 2009, America’s La Liga MX fixture against Tecos at the Azteca Stadium was played with the 100,000 seater stadium vacant, thanks to the H1N1 swine flu virus which at the time had killed 86 and infected over 1,600 people. As to not risk the spread of the disease and contaminate 100,000 people, the game was played out in front of a majority of staff with a handful of home fans outside the ground, all wearing masks. A wise move…

 

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