The under-pressure president of Amiens has said he will invest the necessary funds to improve his club’s stadium and ensure there is no repeat of Saturday’s barrier collapse.
Six people — five Lille fans and a steward — were hospitalised overnight after a barrier broke in the visitors’ section of Amiens’ Stade de la Licorne following the visitors’ opening goal after just 16 minutes of Saturday’s Ligue 1 game.
Amid a French Football League (LFP) probe into the incident, which left 29 people injured in total, Bernard Joannin told Breaking Foot on SFR Sport he will find the funds required to make the necessary stadium upgrades.
“Let me be clear: we’ll put in the money required for the work to be done on time,” said Joannin, who hopes to put in place the necessary measures ahead of his club’s next home game — against Bordeaux — on Oct. 21.
“If there’s not that possibility and Bordeaux accept to invert the fixture, we’ll play at Bordeaux.”
He added: “I’m waiting to be told exactly what work needs doing and I’ll see if there is the chance of them being done. If it’s the case, I’ll ask the league for a derogation and do the work. If it’s not the case, we can ask for the fixture to be turned round.
“Be certain, peoples’ safety is primordial. I didn’t sleep on Saturday night. I went to see all those who were injured on Saturday night and I returned on Sunday morning. It was shocking for us to see all those youngsters. When you find yourself in that situation, it’s not easy to handle.”
A steward from Lille said he had warned Amiens officials that the barrier which collapsed was faulty.
In an interview with L’Equipe newspaper published Monday, Jean-Claude Buisine said the visitors’ stand did not have enough capacity for the 550 away fans, and that the barrier was defective.
Buisine, who sustained minor back injuries in the accident, said he and his colleagues had warned Amiens officials before the game that the barrier was badly attached and that it was moving.
“It’s a disgrace to confine people in a thing like that,” Buisine said about the stand. “It’s a case of gross security negligence. This stadium is very, very dangerous.”
The hospital in Amiens said 29 people were injured in the collapse.
The French league said its disciplinary committee would be starting an inquiry on Thursday. If Amiens is found responsible, it faces a number of possible sanctions: a fine, playing a match with either part or all of its stadium closed, or even a point penalty.
The Amiens prosecutor has already opened an investigation to determine the causes of the accident.
The match between Amiens and Lille was stopped Saturday after the opening goal in the 15th minute. Fode Ballo-Toure had just scored for Lille when he ran over to a section of visiting fans behind the goal to celebrate. As fans surged forward, the fence collapsed under their weight. Fans tumbled onto the field and the match was immediately halted.
Information from Associated Press was used in this report.
Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman