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Italian football suspended



Italian football suspended

Feb 3, 2007

Italy indefinitely suspended the country's international and domestic soccer matches on Saturday after a policeman was killed during clashes at a derby game between Sicilian clubs Catania and Palermo, authorities said.

Police said one officer was killed when a rioter hurled an explosive at him while he was inside his car outside the Serie A match. The death was the second in little over a week connected to an Italian soccer game.

Italian media said more than 100 were wounded and that another police officer was battling for his life in a hospital in the city of Catania.

"We must send a clear message that we must stop the kind of degeneration of sport that unfortunately happens so often," Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said in a statement.

Hundreds of angry ultra fans lingered outside the stadium, where police in riot gear tried to control the crowds. Streams of fans fled down city streets to safety.

The Italian soccer federation (FIGC) quickly declared that all the weekend's matches were suspended, then clarified that the suspension was indefinite. The manager for Italy's national team, Gigi Riva, told Sky Italia TV the suspension also applied to the national team.

Italy were scheduled to entertain Romania in a friendly on Thursday.

The world champions are due to host Scotland in a Euro 2008 qualifier on March 28. They are third in Group B two points behind the Scots and France.

Emergency meeting

"We can't continue to go on like this," said FIGC's extraordinary commissioner Luca Pancalli. "Italian soccer will stop. And it will stop until we identify a road, serious and drastic, to allow the possibility resuming championships."

Pancalli said there will be an emergency meeting on Tuesday to identify new measures, "otherwise we won't start again".

Earlier this week he had threatened to halt the country's championships after violence last weekend also left one man dead.

An official of amateur league club Sammartinese died after being caught up in a fight at the end of a game. A minute's silence was to be held at games this weekend.

Saturday's match, which Palermo won 2-1, had been suspended for more than a half hour after smoke -- possibly from tear gas outside the stadium -- made play impossible.

Palermo coach Francesco Guidolin summed up the mood.

"I am very disillusioned, it can not go on like this," he was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport's Web site (www.gazzetta.it).

"What has happened tonight offends sport and a beautiful and civil city like Catania. It can not go on like this. If we do not recapture certain values, it can not go on."

Source: Reuters
Hat's off to the Italian officials for having the balls to do that. At the end of the day, it's just a game.
Yep well done to the Italians, How it should be Sport is not more important than Life and Death!!!
I think Italian football has died with that policeman. After the match fixing, attempted assasination of that club chairman and now this, they can't turn around IMO. The only league in the world where all games will be played in empty stadiums.

And people say England are pathetic World Champions...
Yeah it's a good job some no-mark didn't try to stir things up over here in a lame attempt to hide his own tactical shortcomings after one of the most highly charged fixtures in the English calendar.


A bomb to a game of sport!?!?!? I mean it's just incomprehensible. I can understand how things escalate and footy violence happens but going out with bombs in order to fight a pre-meditated war over it.

It's so beyond the pale you can't get your head round it.

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