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Amiens barrier collapse sparks Ligue 1 investigation into fan safety

October 2 – Five fans were injured when a barrier collapsed during a French top-flight match at the weekend. At least 29 people were hurt in the incident, which occurred in the 16th minute of Amiens’ Ligue 1 match with Lille.

A barrier in front of the away section caved in as fans celebrated a Lille goal and dozens fell on to the pitch. The match was abandoned and the stadium evacuated.

Amiens v Lille is virtually a derby game with less than 100km separating the two sides. Amiens are competing in the French top flight for the first time in their 116-year history and their 12,000-capacity Stade de la Licorne is the smallest of the 20 Ligue 1 clubs.

L’Equipe reported that Amiens president Bernard Joannin had blamed Lille’s supporters for the incident but in a tit-for-tat response Lille chief executive Marc Ingla described the accusation as “irresponsible and inflammatory”.

“Our supporters are impeccable and professional football needs to be better organised,” he said. “The club has the right to ask questions about the security arrangements and conditions imposed on our supporters at Amiens’ stadium.”

In a statement, the French Football Federation’s president, Noel Le Graet, said it would wait for a final report from authorities on the incident and that “caring for the victims is the absolute priority before attempting to shed light on the circumstances of this accident.”

As the Amiens prosecutor opened an investigation to determine the causes of the accident, all the injured were reported to have been released from hospital.

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