September 30, 2017 at 5:26 PM
Twenty people were injured, three of the seriously, after a barrier came down during a top-flight soccer game in France on Saturday, sending dozens of fans tumbling from the stands onto the field.
The incident occurred around 15 minutes into the game at the Stade de Licorne, Ligue 1 team Amiens’ home stadium, after visiting team Lille scored. Crammed into the visitor’s section, Lille fans began to cheer wildly, while more fans descended to the lower parts of the stands to greet the team, which had gathered to celebrate in front of the section with fans. The festivities came to an abrupt halt, however, when the barrier broke, causing a torrent of fans to stream over the edge onto the back of the field. No players were injured.
“Three people were evacuated and are seriously injured while 17 others have minor injuries,” a Ligue 1 official said (via Goal.com) after the incident that caused the match to be abandoned. “Safety is no longer assured.”
The game will be made up at a later to-be-determined date.
Lille CEO Marc Ingla voiced his concerns about the incident on Twitter shortly after the match was called off and demanded a full investigation into what caused the barrier’s collapse.
“The club has the right to ask questions about the security arrangements and conditions imposed on our supporters at the Amiens stadium,” Ingla wrote in a series of tweets. “Lille hopes the cause of this accident is quickly identified, for our fans and the victims and that this never happens again.”
Amiens President Bernard Joannin, meanwhile, denied the barrier in the nearly 20-year-old stadium had any issues and instead insinuated it was the actions of a group of Lille fans that caused its collapse.
“Police warned us that 200 very angry ultras were in the section reserved for Lille fans,” Joannin said (via Sportskeeda.com). “They launched themselves in a disorderly way — more than 500 people — on this barrier, which was in perfect condition.”
Amid the controversy, however, Amiens expressed support for the victims of the accident on social media, noting, “Our hearts are with the injured. We hope it’s not too serious.”
Neither Lille nor Amiens have had much success on the field this season. After seven games both find themselves near the bottom of the Ligue 1 standings. Amiens sits in 16th place, while Lille is in danger of relegation in 18th place. Twenty teams play in Ligue 1.