Probe starts on Italy fan death

Probe starts on Italy fan death

The policeman who shot Sandri has said he was not aiming his gun

Prosecutors have placed the policeman who shot dead an Italian football fan under investigation for manslaughter.

But a police official said more serious charges could still be pressed for the shooting of Lazio fan Gabriele Sandri.

Italy's sports minister has suspended games in the country's second and third divisions for one week after the death triggered widespread fan violence.

The unnamed policeman who shot Sandri has said his gun went off as he ran to stop a brawl between rival supporters.

Sunday's violence erupted after the shooting of Sandri, 26, at a motorway service station near the Tuscan city of Arezzo.

Around 40 police were injured in the nationwide disorder.

Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri had said officials should consider suspending all play for several weeks as authorities met to decide their response.

Italy's national team is to face Scotland in a Euro 2008 qualifying game on Saturday in Glasgow, meaning there are no first division games in Italy next weekend and no decision has been taken that affects the top clubs and players.

Fan crackdown

But the president of Italy's football federation, Giancarlo Abete, has not ruled out the possibility of the postponements continuing after the international break.

"We don't intend to restart all tournaments from Sunday 25 (November)," he said.

Italy's anti-hooligan body has proposed the banning of large groups of potentially violent away supporters from all grounds.

Italian policemen and football fans clash near Rome's Olympic Stadium on Sunday
Sandri's death sparked several clashes between police and fans

It has also suggested that away fan attendance should be decided on a game-by-game basis, and wants 'supporter passports' introduced as soon as possible.

Sandri, from Rome, was hit by a bullet in the neck as he sat in a car while police tried to stop fighting between followers of his team and Juventus supporters.

Prosecutors have opened an inquiry into manslaughter, though Arezzo police chief Vincenzo Giacobbe said more serious charges could still be laid.

The officer, who has been in the force for 12 years, said he fired his pistol more than 200m (660ft) away from Sandri.

The fan was sitting in a car on his way to see Lazio play Inter Milan.

The policeman has said he had not aimed at anyone.

The death on Sunday sparked one of Italy's worst days of football-related violence.

The worst of the disorder was in Rome - home of Lazio - where hundreds of armed fans blocked off one end of a bridge over the River Tiber and torched vehicles.

Sunday's late match between AS Roma and Cagliari was postponed but supporters wielding rocks and clubs turned up anyway outside the Stadio Olimpico.

The mob also attacked a police barracks and the city headquarters of the Italian Olympic Committee, the body which oversees all sport in Italy.

Last season Italy's football programme was badly disrupted after a policeman was killed in a riot in Sicily.

Source: BBC