Football: at the Vélodrome de Marseille, a tribute to the victims of the Furiani tragedy



Before the expected qualification, there will be the tribute. The semi-final return of the Europa League Conference between Olympique de Marseille and Feyenoord Rotterdam, this Thursday, May 5, is placed under the sign of remembrance. Text read by the announcer, messages broadcast on the giant screens of the Vélodrome, minute of silence before the match and black armband, it is a question of honoring the memory of the victims of the Furiani disaster on May 5, 1992.

→ EXPLANATION. The anniversary date of the Furiani drama sanctuary by the deputies

That evening, a few minutes before the kick-off of the Coupe de France semi-final between Sporting Club de Bastia and OM, the metal stand, built hastily and in defiance of safety rules to increase the capacity of the Armand-Cesari stadium is collapsing. The toll is terrible: 19 dead and 2,357 injured, the greatest tragedy that has ever struck the French sports world.

“A more peaceful commemoration”

For years, the group of victims of the Furiani tragedy fought for the date of May 5 to be protected, a promise made by President François Mitterrand in Bastia after the disaster. In October 2021, a bill brought by the deputy of Haute-Corse Michel Castellani was finally voted by the National Assembly: no match of the French professional championships, Coupe de France or Trophée des champions can take place on May 5 in France.

“This law was fundamental for us, because Furiani is a real national tragedy and not Corso-Corsican: it allows, for the 30th anniversary of the tragedy this year, a more serene and peaceful commemoration”, assures Josepha Guidicelli. The president of the collective of victims, who was 4 years old at the time of the disaster and lost her father there, the journalist Jean-Pierre Guidicelli, certainly regrets the “bad luck” which sees the OM-Feyenoord match scheduled for Thursday, but ensures “not wanting to be in one-upmanship” and understand that the European Cup match “does not fall within the scope of the law, which only concerns national competitions”.

A mass in memory of the victims

The leaders of Olympique de Marseille very quickly asked UEFA for the possibility of including a tribute in the protocol, and Josepha Guidicelli ” satisfied “ of the agreement given by the European body and announced by OM on Tuesday 3 May. The tribute to the Vélodrome is in addition to the other commemorations planned on the Island of Beauty throughout this week. They will culminate this Thursday 5 with the meditation in front of the stele erected in 1995 near the stadium (at 4 p.m.) and the mass celebrated in memory of the victims in the Sainte-Marie de Bastia cathedral (at 6 p.m.).

For Josepha Guidicelli, it is important to maintain this memory so as never to forget the multiple responsibilities, from the club to the prefectural authorities via the French Football Federation (1). The president of the collective of victims relies in particular on “the necessary awareness of young people, on which we are working through the workshops that we will lead in partnership with the FFF in the training centers of the clubs”. The first took place in Ajaccio on April 26.

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