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Italian football to restart on Sunday?


Italian football could restart on Sunday, according to Luca Pancalli, commissioner of the Italian Federation. Serie A and B clubs meet on Tuesday to discuss the government proposal of closing stadia deemed unsafe to fans. The move follows the cancellation of weekend football after a policemen was killed during clashes between fans. Pancalli said: "There are the means to return to play on Sunday but we must wait for Wednesday's government meeting before making a final decision."

Read on to see the fatal rioting

The policeman, Filippo Raciti, died after being beaten to death with a blunt instrument and then a bomb was thrown into his car during rioting at a Serie A derby in Sicily between Catania and Palermo on Friday. His death caused huge uproar and outrage from Italian politicians and the suspension of all amateur and professional games - including Wednesday's international friendly against Romania.

The head of the Italian Footballers' Association, Sergio Campana, called for the leagues to be halted for at least a year. On Monday the Italian interior minister, Giuliano Amato, said stadia that do not meet security standards will not be allowed to admit fans. "We will not allow fans to go into a stadium that does not respect the current safety norms. In stadia like that of Catania I will not admit anyone, I am firm on this. That game shouldn't have been played. Hence, only those stadia that meet the security norms will re-open to the fans, the other stadia will be used to play in but without fans until they meet guidelines."

Enrico Letta, under-secretary to Italian prime-minister Romano Prodi, said: "We will take urgent measures. Some of them will be reinforced and others will be innovations. The government will propose a law to Parliament regarding the relationship between clubs, stadia and the relationship of fans. The first regulations will be done immediately with an urgent decree and will be linked to the need of guaranteeing public order, which is the absolute priority."

Atalanta president Ivan Ruggeri has already voiced his concern regarding the possibility that most clubs could be playing behind closed doors. It is deemed that around 80% of grounds in the top two tiers of Italian football do not have sufficient security to hold matches. Atalanta's Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia would be among those grounds that would be forced to play without fans. Ruggeri said "If this is confirmed I will propose to the League not to play. I don't think it's fair for us to be hindered like this. I understand that it is a serious problem and we are all very hurt by what has happened, but frankly, I believe this decision is excessive." However, Ruggeri will do well to recall that during rioting at one of Atalanta's games saw fans seriously hurt when a moped was set alight and thrown into an enclosure full of supporters.

An estimated £9.9m (15m euros) is lost by halting a day's games in Italian football and proposals include forcing clubs to adopt stricter anti-hooligan measures by the start of next season. It seems that lessons from our shores have not been learned around Europe with Feyenoord being thrown out of the UEFA cup after rioting halted a European match, and of course, the problems in Italy. They seem to be stuck in the same situation that the English leagues were faced with 20 years ago. It was poor security that cost 39 Juventus fans their lives, and the Italian clubs should keep that in mind. Only last year, a game was halted after referee Andres Frisk was injured after Roma fans pelted him with coins and lighters. Losses in money is one thing, but it is small change compared to the safety of the people who make football what it is - the fans.

[Mof Gimmers]

February 6, 2007 in European football, News balls | Permalink


Wow, it sure didn't take long for the powers that be to capitulate. Why not a luxury box for whoever actually killed the cop?

Posted by: joe | Feb 6, 2007 11:26:37 PM

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