Saturday’s French Ligue 1 match between Amiens and Lille was suspended and subsequently abandoned during the first half after a stadium barrier collapsed, causing dozens of visiting Lille fans to tumble forward to the ground.
At least 29 of the fans were injured, and five of the injuries were serious, according to French outlet AFP.
The fans were celebrating a 16th-minute goal when the barrier at Amiens’ Stade de la Licorne ruptured under their weight.
The following video shows the goal celebrations, and the immediate aftermath of the crush. The video is not graphic, but is somewhat frightening:
Other supporters came to the aid of those that had fallen, pulling them back up into the stands. Stewards and other stadium personnel also were quick to step in and help.
According to Amiens, a security meeting was subsequently convened to decide if the match could continue. Officials decided it would not.
Amiens said the stadium was successfully and peacefully evacuated.
An inquiry is underway to determine the cause of the collapse. An official said after the match that the site has been secured and an expert will conduct a review.
Alain Gest, the owner of the stadium, said the incident had “absolutely nothing to do” with ongoing renovations to the 12,000-capacity ground.
Amiens club president Bernard Joannin blamed the visiting Lille fans. “There is no barrier problem,” he said, according to local newspaper La Depeche, via Google Translate. “The police had warned us that 200 very annoyed ultras were in the parking lot reserved for Lille. They launched themselves in a disorderly way, more than 500 people, on this barrier, which was in perfect condition.”
Lille CEO Marc Ingla responded to the allegations on Twitter: “The statement from Amiens’ president is irresponsible and inflammatory in the context of this situation,” he wrote. “We hope the LFP (Ligue de Football Professionnel) identifies those responsible. Our supporters are impeccable and professional football needs to be better organized.
“The club has the right to ask questions about the security arrangements and conditions imposed on our supporters at Amiens’ stadium. Lille wants those responsible for this accident to be quickly identified, for its supporters and the victims, so that this can never happen again.”
The official investigation will determine where fault lies.
Photos afterward showed the broken barrier:
Other photos showed police and other emergency service authorities working to rescue and treat injured fans and quell the situation:
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