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29 injured as French stadium barrier collapses



Twenty-nine fans were hurt, five of them seriously, when a barrier collapsed Saturday at a stadium in the northern French city of Amiens as away supporters celebrated their opening goal.

A fence separating Lille fans from the pitch gave way as they surged forward to celebrate the goal against Amiens, a regional rival that has just been promoted to the top flight in French football.

Several tumbled about 1.5 metres (five feet) and were crushed by other fans who fell on top of them. Injuries included head, chest and abdominal trauma, medical authorities said.

Referee Thomas Leonard suspended the match in the 16th minute as Red Cross and emergency workers rushed to help the injured. The fixture was later abandoned.

“It happened all of a sudden. I don’t even know who scored. It just suddenly fell on me. I couldn’t hear anything, I couldn’t see anything and then the emergency workers took me away,” said Georges Penel, a 21-year-old Lille fan who suffered injuries to his leg and back.

The prefecture of the Somme department gave a provisional toll of 29 hurt, five of them seriously. Among the injured were three minors, all in their teens, medical authorities said.

The incident happened when Lille’s Fode Ballo-Toure ran towards the section of visiting fans after scoring the opening goal, prompting a surge that caused the barrier to give way.

Built in 1999, the Stade de la Licorne (“Stadium of the Unicorn”) is the smallest of the 20 French Ligue 1 clubs, with a capacity of only 12,000.

Renovation work is taking place throughout the 2017-18 season, as newly-promoted Amiens brings the ground up to a higher standard.

– ‘Hardcore fans’ –

The venue boasts an eye-catching, futuristic design with a transparent roof, which is being renovated. The seats are also being progressively replaced under the 7.5-million-euro ($8.9-million) scheme.

Amiens public prosecutor Alexandre de Bosschere said an investigation had been opened into “accidental injury”, focusing on why the barrier gave way.

“We have put legal seals on the site (to bar access to it), and an assessment will be carried out in the next few days.”
The club’s president Bernard Joannin dismissed any idea that there were problems with the barrier.

“The police had warned us that there were 200 hardcore fans, really wound up, who were in the section set aside for Lille fans. They surged forward, chaotically, more than 500 people, against this barrier, which was in perfect condition.”

Back in May, local politician Alain Gest had suggested that upkeep of the stadium had been neglected by previous local administrations but was now “perfectly in line with regulations” and “up to standards for playing in Ligue 1”.


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Liverpool set Salah price with Real Madrid, Barcelona interest



Liverpool will seek to drive a hard bargain this summer, when top clubs come calling for Mohamed Salah.

The Reds will face a big fight to keep the Egyptian winger, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain all desperate to sign him according to The Sun.

Clubs keen on Salah will be quoted £200m for the 25-year-old, which would equal a £165m profit on the £35m fee Liverpool paid Roma last year.

The Premier League sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £145million in January and after Salah’s 28 Premier League goals this season, they are willing to go higher.

Real Madrid are apparently ready to shelve their bid for Eden Hazard if Salah is tempted by a switch to the Bernabeu, but it is believed the LaLiga giants will prioritise a move for Robert Lewandowski over Harry Kane at centre-forward.

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Rohr speaks on Super Eagkes’ World cup squad ahead of Poland Vs Nigeria tie



Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr has stated that John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses cannot single-handedly decide the outcome of matches at the World Cup.

The German coach admitted that the current squad is not as strong as the 90s team, who qualified for the second round of the World Cup twice in a row, defeated Spain and was close to eliminating Italy at USA ‘94.

“We do not have such great players as Kanu or Okocha, who then shone, but the strength of this team is the team work,” Rohr told Przegląd Sportowy ahead of Poland vs Nigeria match on Friday.

‘’Our captain Obi Mikel or Victor Moses are not the players who will decide the fate of the game themselves, like the stars from the 90s.”

Victor Moses was Nigeria’s top scorer with three goals during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, followed by Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi with two goals each, and Rohr says he is concerned about the absence of a top finisher in the team ahead of the Mundial.

He said: ‘’We really do not have an effective striker, but we have other good players like – Iwobi, Kelechi, Obi Mikel, Ighalo – they are also able to score goals.”

The Poland vs Nigeria tie will be played Municipal Stadium Wroclaw.

Rohr has already released a 28-man squad that will prosecute the game against Poland and Serbia.

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Cristiano Rinaldo makes enquiries about playing in China



Former Portugal coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari has admitted he advised Cristiano Ronaldo to play in China, after the Real Madrid star asked him about life there.

Last January, Madrid president Florentino Perez denied claims by Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, that a Chinese club had made a €300million offer for the player.

Scolari, who was Ronaldo’s national boss between 2004 and 2008, had told Esporte Interativo he had suggested that China could be good for Ronaldo.

“Yes, he has asked me more than once what it is like to live in China,” Scolari said.

“I told him everything.

“And we also must understand that China is China for different players. Cristiano Ronaldo has his brands, is an industry.

“And China is the best country in the world. I told him what I always say, whoever gets the chance, must come to China,”‎ he said.

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