Football violence in Italy

Italy to debate football future
CONI president Gianni Petrucci
Petrucci wants stricter anti-hooligan measures to be introduced
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) will meet the government on Monday to decide when Italian football resumes.

All weekend matches, as well as an international against Romania, were cancelled after a policeman was killed during clashes between fans in Sicily.

CONI met on Sunday to discuss ways to solve the crisis and urged clubs to break off relations with violent fans.

Other proposals included forcing clubs to adopt stricter anti-hooligan measures by the start of next season.

CONI president Gianni Petrucci said that if clubs did not agree to the new guidelines - which would see more controls imposed on tickets and an increase in use of closed circuit cameras - they would not be able to host games.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Italy's minister of sport Giovanna Melandri will also be at Monday's meeting.

FIGC president Luca Pancalli said the delay in announcing new measures was a sign of respect for the policeman, Filippo Raciti, whose funeral is scheduled for Monday in Sicily.

Pancalli said: "I will not budge from my decision to suspend the championship until Monday after I have discussed important matters with the government.

"Any decision will in any case be delayed until after the funeral."

The Italian prime minister Romano Prodi has already promised "robust" measures to curb the violence.

Prodi called for "a remedy that makes clubs feel responsible (for fans) and radically changes the situation".

The new Uefa Chairman, Michel Platini, backed the decision to halt football in Italy.

He said the violence had deepened concern about hooliganism in football.

Platini compared it to recent incidents involving French and Dutch fans, and said everyone involved in football must work together to eradicate violence from the game.

"We must now work together with the Italian football authorities and politicians in support of the Italian game, and find a solution to this spiral of violence that is plaguing European football," he said.


The violence occurred at a Serie A derby game between Catania and Palermo.

Police fired teargas to control fighting between fans before, during and after Friday's match.

Italian PM Romano Prodi
We cannot continuously put the lives of police officers at risk

Romano Prodi
Italian Prime Minister

Raciti died from his injuries after a home-made bomb exploded in his face outside Catania's stadium.

About 70 people were injured in the clashes, and another police officer is believed to be in a critical condition.

Prodi told reporters he would hold a meeting on Monday with Interior Minister Giuliano Amato and Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri to agree on "robust" measures against football violence.

"We cannot continuously put the lives of police officers at risk," he told reporters on Saturday.

Raciti's death has prompted outrage from Italian politicians and the suspension of all amateur and professional games - including Wednesday's friendly against Romania - by the FIGC.

"A strong signal was needed until we find measures to prevent certain episodes," said Pancalli.

Minute's silence

Pancalli had warned earlier this week that more violence would bring a halt to league matches after clashes between supporters and police in several cities last Sunday.

Catania's Mark Esudei covers his face from smoke during game with Palermo
Play was suspended for 30 minutes after teargas drifted onto the pitch
"We will immediately set up a commission to discuss the situation between sport and politics. It's not possible to carry on like this."

The head of the Italian Footballers' Association, Sergio Campana, called for the leagues to be halted for at least a year.

The country's Olympic committee said a minute's silence would be held before all Italian sports events over the weekend.

Catania, fifth in Serie A, against Palermo, who are third, was given an early kick-off time on Friday because of fears over public safety.

The game was suspended for 30 minutes when tear gas, used by police to control trouble inside the stadium, drifted onto the pitch.

Prior to the start, a minute's silence had been held following the death of a club official from lower league club Sammartinese last weekend.