Lille chief executive says barrier collapse must never happen again

Lille chief executive Marc Ingla has questioned the safety of Amiens’ Stade de la Licorne after a barrier collapse left six supporters in hospital.

The Ligue 1 clash on Saturday evening was abandoned after a barrier at the front of the stand housing away supporters collapsed as fans celebrated a 15th-minute goal by Lille’s Fode Ballo-Toure.

According to initial reports in France, emergency services confirmed three serious injuries among the 20 casualties.

Lille’s official Twitter account posted a more positive update on Sunday, saying: “Six people are still hospitalised this Sunday morning, but the news is reassuring. Come back to us soon in good health.”

Ingla had earlier expressed his sympathy to Lille supporters on the official club website.

“First of all, I would like to have a very strong thought for our supporters and more precisely for the injured,” Ingla said.

“I hope with all my heart that they are well. We are waiting for more precise information. All energy and good thoughts must go to them.

“We also have the right to ask ourselves about the organisational and safety conditions proposed by the stadium and by Amiens.

“We are quite disturbed, we are counting on the LFP (the French league’s governing body) so that the responsibilities are identified for the victims of this accident and so that this can’t happen again. It’s pretty incredible that this type of accident can happen today.”

Ingla also criticised Amiens president Bernard Joannin who blamed Lille fans for the collapse of the safety barrier.

Joannin said on Saturday night that “200 very angry ultras launched themselves in a disorderly way” and pushed people on to the barrier after Ballo-Toure had scored.

Ingla said: “Moreover, it seems that the president of Amiens SC lacked lucidity and has rushed in his statements.

“Professional football demands a certain number of organisational requirements, and in this context, these statements seem inappropriate and irresponsible. Our fans and our clubs are the victims of the events of the evening.”

A statement from Amiens later added: “The club and all of its leaders wants to express solidarity with the injured Lille fans and their families, with their health paramount.”

Chelsea star Eden Hazard, a former Lille player who made nearly 200 appearances for the club between 2007 and 2012, shared his thoughts on social media.

Hazard tweeted: “Courage to all the wounded Lille fans….a big thought for you. #dogueunjourdoguetoujours (once a Great Dane, always a Great Dane)”

Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy, another former Lille player, tweeted: “A big thought to Losc (Lille) supporters this morning.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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