Four fans seriously injured as barrier collapses in Ligue 1 derby
Four supporters were seriously injured, and 21 others hurt, when a barrier collapsed at the front of a stand containing away supporters in the French Ligue 1 derby between Amiens and Lille last night.
The match was abandoned and the stadium evacuated after a security meeting.
The collapse occurred in the 16th minute as Lille fans celebrated Fode Ballo-Toure’s opener in a game that is always fiercely contested between clubs who are around 60 miles apart.
As Ballo-Toure ran towards the fans, embracing two team-mates, television footage showed supporters jumping up and down and surging forwards.
As they rushed down the stand, the front barrier appeared to give way, causing those at the front to fall on to the pitch and others to tumble down after them.
Dozens fell on to the pitch, trapped between the advertising boards and other supporters coming down on top of them.
The match was immediately halted as the emergency services started to tend to the injured. Most supporters were able to get back into the stand, but several remained on the ground and were treated while four were taken to hospital. Referee Thomas Leonard sent the two teams back to the changing rooms,
Somme prefect Philippe De Mester said 25 people were injured, four of them seriously. “Their life is not in danger,” he told LCI channel.
De Mester confirmed the stadium was being refurbished, but insisted the painting and roofing work had nothing to do with the collapse.
“After a Lille goal, the Lille fans celebrated and huddled against a barrier that collapsed,” another official told Reuters.
After the injured were treated, Lille players and coach Marcelo Bielsa returned to the pitch to salute the supporters still in the stands.
Amiens wrote on their official club Twitter page: “The authorities are evacuating the wounded. Thoughts with the wounded.”
In 1992, 18 people were killed in Corsica when a stand collapsed at the Armand Cesari Stadium before a French Cup game between hosts Bastia and Marseille.
Chaos: Fans tumble on top of each other after a barrier collapsed in Amiens (above); Lille supporters and players celebrate Fode Ballo-Toure’s goal seconds before the collapse of the barrier (right)