By Paul Douglas Grant
While Thursday’s Cinco de Mayo may have given many cause to celebrate the Corsican population was marking the 19th anniversary of the Furiani Stadium disaster. In 1992 during a semi-final match between Sporting Club de Bastia and Olympique de Marseille, a temporary tribune in the stadium crumbled leaving 18 dead and 2000 wounded.
Though the disaster did not have the same type of football changing effect as did Heysel and Hillsborough, the crumbling Furiani tribune was not without charges of political mishandling. The match in question was much anticipated given that Sporting Club de Bastia was in D2 and had managed to eliminate teams in D1 and were for this match up against OM in the Championnat. The result of such hype was that the match was oversold and the club undertook the construction of a temporary tribune to house the overflow as well as place journalists.
The day of the match the stadium was filled very early and some of those seated in the makeshift tribune were already concerned about the stability and safety of the scaffolding. During the warm-up the supporters in the tribune were asked to stop stomping their feet.
At 8:23 pm as the teams returned to their dressing rooms the upper portion of the tribune collapsed, caving in on the thousands of supporters below.
While much criticism was thrown about for the impoverished security measures no real attribution of fault was ever made.
Further, 1992 will never have a winner listed for the Coupe de France, for after much deliberation and for the first time ever, the Coupe was cancelled. Statistically 1 in every 100 Corsican families was involved in this disaster.