Why don’t we play football in France on May 5th?

Why don’t we play football in France on May 5th?

May 5, 1992 is still one of the most tragic dates in the history of French football. As a mark of respect, no professional match is normally played in France on this day. Back to that drama.

The Armand-Cesari de Furiani Stadium in Bastia was packed for this semi-final of the Coupe de France between Sporting Club de Bastia and Olympique de Marseille. The SC of Bastia, then in League 2, welcomes the great Marseille team and its constellation of stars (Papin, Waddle, Pelé, Amoros, Boli…). Marseille attracts crowds. Given the excitement at the ticket office, the Bastia guides decided to build a temporary booth. It was completed in less than two weeks, with the aim of this new platform being to satisfy the local public as much as possible, part of the stand that killed 19 people and injured more than 2,357.

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May 5th, commemoration day: a tradition respected and confirmed by law in France –

May 5th is a day of remembrance in France today to commemorate the victims of the Furiani tragedy. As a mark of respect, no professional match is normally played in France on this day. This decision was reinforced by the law of October 20, 2021, which now officially bans the holding of professional games on May 5 in honor of the victims of the Furiani tragedy. For amateur football, the text provides for the organization of a minute’s silence and the wearing of a black armband. The group of victims of the Furiani disaster is the origin of this law.

In 2022, the first year of application of this 2021 law, May 5 was a Thursday. A Europa League semi-final between Olympique de Marseille and Feyenoord Rotterdam was nevertheless played that day, as this law only applies to domestic competitions.

May 5, 2023 is therefore the first real application of this law through the suspension of all professional games.

Beyond this law Furiani’s tragedy shook the whole of France and raised national awareness of stadium safety issues. Quick return to the causes and consequences of the tragedy.

The causes of the tragedy: safety deficiencies at all levels –

Investigations into the accident revealed that the temporary stands were in poor condition, safety standards had not been met and the stadium’s capacity had been exceeded. The North Stand was completed on the day of the semi-finals without the approval of the Safety Commission. In addition, a few days before the event, a commission had expressed concerns about the security of this platform. Jean-Pierre Paoli, the announcer, asked the supporters not to bang their feet on the metal piece for safety reasons.

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The Aftermath of the Tragedy: National Awareness and Major Shifts in Stadium Security –

After this tragedy, important measures were taken to strengthen security in the stadiums. Stricter building codes have been enacted, stadium capacity has been limited and regular inspections to verify facility compliance have been introduced. Measures have also been taken to improve the training of security forces and coordination between the various services operating in the stadiums. The Furiani tragedy remains a poignant reminder of the importance of stadium security.

The 1995 appeal process: responsibilities finally clarified –

The aftermath of this Furiani disaster spawned a lengthy legal soap opera. During an appeal in 1995, eight people were found guilty, including Jean-Marie Boimond, technical director of Sud-Tribunes who was responsible for overseeing construction (to 24 months in prison and a fine of 30,000 francs (€6,084) for manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter). bodily harm) and Michel Lorenzi, Vice President of the SEC Bastia (ten months probation and 15,000 francs fine (€ 3,042) for manslaughter and negligent bodily harm).

The fact remains that May 5th will forever remain a day of remembrance for the victims of this tragedy that forever marked the history of French football.

Also read: 25 years later, French football pays tribute to the victims of the Furiani tragedy