Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Security stepped up

Travelling football fans will be monitored closely on their way to their respective away games in Serie A in the wake of Sunday's tragedy.

The independent body that monitors football hooliganism around Italy, L'Osservatorio nazionale sulle manifestazione sportive, have vowed to have more security in place on motorways as well as increased restrictions on sales of tickets.

The decision follows the death of Matteo Bagnaresi - a Parma fan - who was run over on Sunday by a bus carrying opposing fans as he made his way to watch his team play at Juventus.

The incident happened at the Crocetta Nord motorway services between Alessandria and Asti after Parma fans had reportedly thrown bottles at the bus carrying Juve supporters. The Serie A clash was immediately postponed.

L'Osservatorio emphasised that with respect to the 2006-07 campaign, the number of football-related violence incidents this season has decreased, with a 15% reduction on injured fans as well as a 62% drop on injured police officers.

L'Osservatorio was formed following the death of a police officer during riots outside Catania's game with Sicilian rivals Palermo in February 2007.

Despite those measures, back in November Lazio supporter Gabriele Sandri was shot dead by a policeman at a motorway service station following scuffles between rival fans, an incident which led to riots in several Italian cities.

Further measures were adopted by the independent body, which included the restriction of certain club fans from travelling to away games, closing down the visitors' section of the respective stadia on match day, and tickets for the games being sold only in the province where the game is played.

L'Osservatorio have been pushing clubs to introduce identity cards for fans, which could be in place by next season.

Source: Sporting Life

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