PARIS: A pressure group has renewed its demand that no football matches should be played in France in May 5 each year as a tribute to the memory of the fans killed and injured in the Furiani stadium disaster in 1992.
Some 18 fans were killed and 2,357 injured when a temporary stand collapsed before a French cup semi-final in Corsica between Bastia and Marseille, then one of the dominant clubs not only in France but in Europe.
Marseille players, including the England right winger Trevor Steven, helped rescuers in pulling injured fans out of wreckage at the Furiani stadium.
Since then the Collectif Furiani has campaigned for May 5 to be declared a football-free day in France. That campaign was reinvigorated by the fact that this season’s league match between Marseille and Bastia fell on the eve of the anniversary, on Saturday.
Marseille made facilities available on Saturday so the Collectif could hold a press conference at which Josepha Guidicelli insisted that the campaign would go on.
She said: “We cannot understand that it’s possible for French football to enjoy games on every May 5. We remain very disappointed with the authorities – and the league president Frederic Thiriez in particular – for staying deaf to our demands.”
Guididelli said President Francois Hollande had been sympathetic when approaching during last year’s election campaign.
Marseille MP Avi Assouly, who had been injured in 1992, said he had proposed a parliamentary resolution but this had been overwhelmed amid the present mass of legislation.
Before kick-off in the game, which Marseille won 2-1, a cheque for €10,000 was presented to hospitals in Corsica and Marseille from revenues generated by a book about the disaster.
During the match warm-up players of both teams had worn T-shirts bearing the slogan: “”Non aux matches le 5 mai.”