Twenty Years Ago The Bastia Stadium Disaster
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Twenty years ago: the Bastia stadium disaster: All you need to know - Tickets, Direction, Weather (2022)

I cannot believe the way that he just disregarded what I had to say. It is really inexcusable.

Twenty Years Ago The Bastia Stadium Disaster

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Nicole Sommer - Soccer expert Last updated: Saturday, 02.July 2022 — 3min read

No matches were played in Ligue 1 last Saturday because the league commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Furiani stadium disaster which took the lives of 18 fans and injured hundreds more.

The day of the game is a hot and sunny one, with a high chance of thunderstorms later in the day. Bastia fans come out in their numbers, filling all the bars and cafes in town. The atmosphere is electric as the two teams line up on the pitch. In the end SC Bastia lose 1-0 but this is only noticed after they have left the stadium; when they are boarding their buses, they are attacked by a group of Marseille fans who have followed them home. In total, there are 70 people injured in this incident; some very seriously. Twenty-four people die as a direct result of this violence and it becomes known as 'The Day of the Tragedy'.

The semi-final will take place at Stade Armand Cesari in Bastia, which has a capacity of about 8,750. This is usually more than sufficient for the average Ligue 2 match of the club, but a semi-final match against Marseille will be of a different category.

The club directors decided that the North Stand, built in 1948 and only able to hold 750 fans, needed to get demolished and replaced by a temporary structure that could seat 9,300 fans. This would increase the capacity of the club by almost 18,000 people.

On the evening of the 24th of April, a company hired by former club president Vendasi is contracted to demolish the stand. In secret, the stand is demolished overnight.

State representative Hurand only finds out the next day that the developments have already occurred, but it is too late to stop them.

Meanwhile, Bastia has contracted the firm Sud Tribune for the installation of the new stand. Another firm, Space Locations, had initially also been contracted by the club, however withdrew stating a lack of time.

The new stand starts working on Tuesday, but a strike happens at the port of Marseille that prevents the delivery of the necessary materials. The French Football Federation (FFF) refuses to postpone the match, but Sud Tribune assures they will be able to get the materials on the island itself.

This safety report follows on Wednesday, but as was pointed out after the disaster, it does not include the confirmation of the official safety commission. Ticket sales can start though; however, the Corsicans soon find themselves stunned by the prices that have been increased by 75% in comparison with the quarter-final.

On the day of the match, the safety commission finally gave its stamp of approval, and despite initial delays work seemed to progress steadily over the weekend. However, on Monday (one day before the match), bad news arrived as the fire department had encountered anomalies and considered the safety of the stand to be insufficient. Frantic last-minute works were executed until a few hours before kickoff.

People from all around Bastia converge on the stadium early in the morning to see their team play. Even those who cannot make it to the game are still glued to their televisions as they follow the action.

The stadium is already packed and the atmosphere is thrilling, but those seated at the temporary North Stand are starting to voice their concerns. They are comparing the stand to a rocking boat, and the tension is palpable. Some refuse to move up the stand, while others call for postponing the match, but no decision is taken.

Some pre-match images in the next video. The stand in question is the long one with the floodlights in the middle. The UEFA officials are currently investigating whether or not this is an unauthorized stand.

 

At 8:00 PM, when the players enter the pitch to warm up under a rapturous applause, people have started to seriously frighten and some panic. Meanwhile, engineers are tightening bolts and repairing defects at the base of the stand.

Just before the start of the match, the stands became unstable and the stadium speaker asked spectators not to move around too much so that metal parts wouldn't come off.

At 10 minutes to kickoff, the upper part of the stand collapses, bringing down 2,000 fans and journalists. The back of the stand has turned into a gigantic mass of metal tubes, seats, and bodies; spectators left at the bottom part that still stands try to escape to the pitch, being helped by the players that had just entered the pitch.

The local hospitals are soon saturated, and many wounded are airlifted to hospitals in Nice and Marseille.

?" As the death count slowly rises, the first accounts of negligence, incompetence, denial and blame start to surface. The question remains: "How could anyone have let this semi-final go on?"

An official report soon looks into the responsibility question. It concludes that several factors led to the disaster, including engineering errors; a lack of planning and oversight; the too-short time schedule; breaches of safety procedures; and general poor safety management and control.

This further report by the FFF suggests that while the increased ticket prices were not immediately reported to the governing body, they did end up benefiting privately owned Bastia directors.

As noted in other findings, the safety committee never officially gave its approval after the fire department had initially given a negative advice and that Bastia directors had never deemed it necessary to ask for planning permission, being more powerful than the mayor of the town.

A trial subsequent to the initial one resulted in the conviction of eight of the responsible individuals with prison terms ranging up to two years. Bastia president Filippi could not get convicted as he was shot dead in his backyard two days before the start of the trial.

Last week, Bastia fittingly commemorated the 20th anniversary of the disaster by promoting to Ligue 1. After the several services that were held last weekend, Bastia will this week play a commemorative match against a youth team followed by a pre-season friendly against Liverpool.

For more photos, go to this slideshow. For more information, try this excellent resource (in French).

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Twenty Years Ago The Bastia Stadium Disaster

Twenty years ago: the Bastia stadium disaster: All you need to know - Tickets, Direction, Weather (2022).

I cannot believe the way that he just disregarded what I had to say. It is really inexcusable.

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