Thursday, 5 April 2007

Manchester United condemn police reaction

Manchester United have accused the Italian police of over-reacting during the Champions League tie against Roma.

The first leg of the competition’s quarter-final ended with a 2-1 win for Roma, but the match was marred by crowd trouble when the travelling supporters clashed with riot police.

"The disturbing scenes witnessed in the Stadio Olimpico last night shocked everyone at Old Trafford," said a club statement posted on their official website.

"In what the club views as a serious over-reaction, local police handed out indiscriminate beatings to United supporters.

"In those circumstances, neither Manchester United, nor Roma, are able to call the police to account.

"As a result, the club warmly welcomes a government examination of the incidents and will collect witness statements from fans to submit to the Home Office."

UEFA has launched an investigation, while the Premiership leaders have invited the supporters who attended the game to send in witness statements and evidence.

The English press accused the police of singling out the United fans while both sets of supporters threw missiles, but Rome police prefect Achille Serra believes there was no wrongdoing.

"I think the police’s behaviour was correct," Serra said. "If there will be evidence of something different, I will be sure that the facts are investigated appropriately.

"At the time being, we have no news that any of the injured supporters were hurt by the police and that is very important."

The newly elected President of the Italian Football Federation Giancarlo Abete has also praised the actions of the police.

"We owe gratitude to our law enforcers and I don’t believe those who try to make games safe can be crucified in this manner," said the FIGC chief.

"I was not present at the Stadio Olimpico... but I will follow the matter closely."

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