Thursday, 15 November 2007

Fans hit with travel ban

Fans of six Serie A clubs have been banned from travelling to their respective away games on November 24-25 in the wake of Sunday's football-related violence.

The independent body that monitors Italian football hooliganism, L'Osservatorio nazionale sulle manifestazione sportive, has made the decision against supporters of Atalanta, Catania, AC Milan, Roma, Sampdoria and Torino.

L'Osservatorio was formed following the death of a police officer during riots outside Catania's top-flight game with rivals Palermo in February, and further measures are now being taken after last weekend.

The shooting death of a Lazio fan by a policeman sparked the latest wave of unrest at clubs, with hundreds of fans protesting at the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) headquarters in Rome and doing damage to the building.

The independent body has also banned Bari and Cesena fans from travelling to their team's next away Serie B games while five Serie C clubs and two Serie D clubs will face the same restrictions.

"It's difficult to comment on the decision taken by the L'Osservatorio, but we must accept it," AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said.

Torino President Urbano Cairo believes his team's fans, however, are being treated unfairly. "I am stunned," he said. "The Toro supporters have had an exemplary behaviour."

Inter President Massimo Moratti backed the moves. "Banning fans from away games seems at this time a necessary measure to avoid further incidents," Moratti said on the club's website.

He then added: "The true problem in Italy remains the stadia, that are not suitable and secure."

The body will make sure their ruling is effective by closing down the visitors' section of the respective stadiums on game day, while tickets for the games will only be sold in the province where the game is to be played.

L'Osservatorio also said that should fans wish to buy a ticket on the internet, they will have to provide a document to prove they are residents in the province."

Italian Football Federation President (FIGC) Giancarlo Abete met on Thursday with Serie A and B club executives to discuss further action to be taken to isolate the violent individuals from stadiums.

"I am very satisfied with the meeting with club presidents," he said. "Sunday's tragedy underlines the responsibility for the football world to isolate the violent individuals and to recover the rules of respect and of civil co-existence.

"I am happy with the support given by many to Atalanta President Ivan Ruggeri's initiative. This can only make me optimistic and confident for the future of football."

Ruggeri decided earlier this week to close the section of their stadium where "ultra" supporters watch games and hand the tickets to young children instead.

Source: PA

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