The term ‘behind closed doors’ has more to it than the normal human eye can see. It is primarily used in Football to describe matches where spectators are not allowed to visit. The purposes behind this may be to incorporate disciplining a team liable for a specific situation previously, stadium safety issues or to forestall conceivably perilous conflicts between rival supporters. It is predicated by articles 7, 12 and 24 of FIFA's disciplinary code.
In the recent cases of the Coronavirus outbreak, many games in National and Continental Leagues around the world had to be held behind doors for public safety. We look at some of the other examples that have happened throughout the sands of time.
1980–81 European Cup Winners' Cup
The first instances of it go a long way back, when riots broke out among fans in the first leg against Real Madrid Castilla in Spain, West Ham United were forced to play the second leg at Upton Park in October 1980 to an empty stadium.
1982–83 European Cup
Due to rioting by fans in a semi-final at Anderlecht in Belgium the previous April, Aston Villa was forced to begin their defence of the European Cup at an empty Villa Park in September 1982, with the match kicking off at 2:30 pm on a Wednesday.
In a game, a policeman was killed due to riots between Catania and Palermo in Serie A. The football federation suspended all football matches indefinitely. Subsequently, matches resumed but many clubs were ordered to play their games behind closed doors until their stadiums met with updated security regulations.
Juventus were ordered to play a game behind closed doors as the fans had racially abused Milan striker, Mario Balotelli back then. Also, in that year, FC Dinamo Bucuresti had to play two home games in the same way as home fans invaded the pitch in the 88th minute of a match against FC Slovan Liberec. In Mexican football, during the penultimate round of league games, all teams had to play with closed doors due to the H1N1 swine flu outbreak in several cities. Several games taking place in areas which were badly affected by the outbreak were also played behind closed doors the following week.
Games behind closed doors have been played regularly as a fine for bad behaviour of fans in Mexico, most recently a Liga Apertura 2015 game in which Atlas hosted Querétaro at Estadio Jalisco because of the previous season’s quarterfinal game in which Atlas fans invaded the pitch against their hated rivals Guadalajara.
In a bizarre set of events, in a game between Ajax and AZ Alkmaar, a fan invaded the pitch and hit an AZ player only for the player to retaliate back. When the player was awarded a red card, AZ went on to leave the pitch. So, the match was replayed again and the fan was given huge punishments.
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