Sunday, 30 March 2008

Juve-Parma game postponed after fan dies

Today's Serie A game between Juventus and Parma has been postponed after a Parma fan was accidentally knocked down and killed by a bus.

"Given the tragic fatality, the two clubs have decided that it would not be right to send the teams on the field," a joint statement read.

All other Serie A matches go ahead on Sunday with a minute's silence held for the 27-year-old fan, named as Matteo Bagnaresi.

Police said some Parma and Juve fans were trading insults at a service station on the A21 motorway between Turin and Piacenza en route to the Stadio Olimpico.

"There were the usual insulting phrases," highway police spokesman Alessandria Ovest said.

"In order to avoid trouble, the coach of Juve fans left, but obviously the driver was not aware that there was a fan in front and he hit him with the forward part of the vehicle."

The driver is now under investigation.

In November, before the reverse set of today's fixtures, Lazio fan Gabriele Sandri was shot and killed by a police officer following scuffles with Juve fans at a service station near Arezzo.

Sandri's death, the second in a year connected to football in Italy, caused riots and the suspension of the league for a week.

Sunday's incident, although not a direct result of violence, has still led to calls for away travel in Italy to be banned.

Media reports said Bagnaresi was a member of an ultra group and had just been allowed to enter stadiums again after a three-year ban for a previous incident with Juventus fans.

"It was right (to postpone the game) but it is hypocritical because the problem is deeper. Away travel for fans should be totally prohibited, at least for a long period," Massimo Montebove, a spokesman for the Turin police trade union, told the ANSA news agency.

Tough restrictions are already in place on visiting supporters following November's trouble and teams are often prevented from not taking fans to high-risk games.

A decision on when the Juve-Parma game will be rearranged is expected to be taken on Monday with April 16 a possible date.

Juve are third in Serie A, seven points behind second-placed Roma. They will now have a game in hand with eight matches remaining in their season. Parma are struggling in 15th.

Source: Reuters

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