At least 25 hurt at French soccer stadium after barrier collapse


Medics tend to wounded Lille' supporters following the fall of a barrier during a French League One soccer match between Amiens and Lille in Amiens, northern France, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Three Lille supporters have been seriously injured and taken to hospital after a barrier collapsed during the side's football match at Amiens. Lille says 17 other fans were also injured. (AP Photo)

Medics tend to wounded Lille supporters following a barrier collapse during a French League One soccer match between Amiens and Lille in Amiens, northern France Saturday.

 (AP Photo)

At least 25 French soccer fans were injured, four of them seriously, after a barrier collapsed during a match Saturday.

The incident occurred in a section housing visiting Lille OSC fans at the Stade de la Licorne in Amiens, about 70 miles north of Paris. 

Somme prefect Philippe De Mester said of the injured fans “their life is not in danger.”

“We are thinking strongly and primarily of our supporters,” Lille CEO Marc Ingla wrote in a series of tweets. “Lille has the right to examine the security conditions offered to our supporters by Amiens and its stadium. Lille hopes that those responsible for this accident are swiftly identified, for the club’s supporters and the victims. And so that this never happens again.”

Fode Ballo-Toure had just struck the opening score of the French league match in the 15th minute when he ran over to the Lille fans behind the goal to celebrate. As fans surged forward, the fence collapsed under their weight. Fans tumbled onto the pitch and the match was immediately halted.

Most were able to get back into the stand, but several remained on the ground and were treated for injuries.

After more than half an hour the match was abandoned.

Amiens’ Stade de la Licorne is being refurbished but De Mester insisted the painting and roofing work had nothing to do with the collapse.

He added there was a security inspection of the venue before the game.

“Football should be a celebration and the police had warned us that 200 very worked-up ultras were in the stand reserved for Lille fans,” Amiens president Bernard Joanni said. “And they threw themselves in a disorderly fashion — more than 500 people — onto this barrier which was in a perfect state … imagine 500 people trying to get on the pitch. The league officials need to strongly think about travelling fans.”

Ingla reacted strongly to Joanni’s apparent attempt to blame Lille’s supporters.

“The Amiens president’s comments appear irresponsible and disgraceful in this dramatic context,” he tweeted. “Our supporters are irreproachable and professional football demands the best organization. We hope that the French league identifies those responsible.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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