Bernard Joannin, president of French Ligue 1 football club Amiens, has said that he will provide the necessary funds to improve the team’s Stade de la Licorne home, after a number of fans were injured when a barrier collapsed inside the stadium during the recent match against Lille.
Visiting Lille supporters had been celebrating an early goal when a barrier broke and caused dozens of fans to fall onto the pitch. A total of 29 people were hurt in the incident, with six people – five Lille fans and one steward – requiring hospital treatment.
The French Football League (LFP) has already confirmed that it will investigate the incident, while the Amiens public prosecutor has also started its own review.
Joannin came under fire shortly after the event after he initially placed the blame on Lille fans, but has since withdrawn these comments and apologised.
Now, with Amiens facing possible punishment over the barrier collapse, Joannin has pledged to invest funds to carry out improvement work at the stadium and ensure this type of incident does not happen again.
Amiens is next due to play at its Stade de la Licorne home on October 21 against Bordeaux and Joannin said that if the necessary work has not been finished in time, then he would be open to switching the venue for the match.
“Let me be clear: we will put in the money required for the work to be done on time,” Joannin told Breaking Foot on SFR Sport. “If there’s not that possibility and Bordeaux accept to invert the fixture, we’ll play at Bordeaux.
“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.”
Image: Julien Bertrand