Monday, 12 November 2007

Sports minister asks for suspension

Italy's sports minister has called on the Italian Football Federation to suspend the league championship after the latest outbreak of fan violence.

Across the country, games were halted and police were attacked after a Lazio fan was shot by a policeman on Sunday.

"I've asked if there is the possibility of a strong gesture, in particular suspending the championships for a few weeks," said Giovanna Melandri.

A definitive decision is expected following further talks on Tuesday.

Italy's Euro 2008 qualifier away to Scotland on Saturday means there are no top-flight games next weekend, but lower league matches could be stopped sooner.

Melandri added: "Today I think a significant gesture needs to be made to express the condolences from the sporting world and the football world and the shared mourning and at the same time a condemnation without hesitation of violence."

UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said that although there was clearly a serious problem, it was unfair to lay the blame entirely at the door of football.

"It reflects social difficulties in Italian cities which have little to do with football, and also the presence of extremists and organised groups do not reflect what the average fan feels about football," he said.

"That bullet could have hit anyone in the parking lot, so it's tragic. Football has a central place in the life of Italy, so whatever problems exist at a social level find their way to the stadium."

Source: BBC

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