Fabio Capello has been "saddened" by the problems at Italian football grounds and claims watching games in England and Spain is a more spectator-friendly experience.
A 'Serie A' title winner at Milan, Roma and Juventus, England coach Capello claims the game in Italy is being ruined by "ultras doing whatever they want".
Capello, who has led England into next year's FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa, was a guest speaker in a seminar organised by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) titled 'Football And Those Who Discuss It' where he offered his opinion on his experiences of English, Italian and Spanish football.
"Unfortunately the ultras do whatever they want," he said to an audience of sportswriters at the FIGC's headquarters in Coverciano. "In the stadium they can insult everything and anyone. In Spain, instead it's different. There is more respect and the families go to the stadium with their children, it's a different world.
"I remember once (in Spain), a fan threw paper ball at me and he was taken away. In Spain the clubs own the stadiums and so can organise them how they wish. In England the stadia are full, there is a desire to go to the stadium, nothing ever happens and the stewards do a perfect job. There is great respect for authority, even for the referees.
"I am saddened with what is happening in Italy, the decline will be more evident, and what only needs to be done is to apply the law. 'A decision must be taken by the authorities and by the clubs so that people return to the stadiums and they are more welcoming."
The game in Italy has been plagued by violence in recent years but no major incidents have taken place over the last two years after the anti-violence measures already in place were tightened.
Unruly spectators face the prospect of tougher penalties, while officials have had more control of fans entering stadia thanks to electric turnstiles which read tickets with fans' names on them. Security cameras have also been installed at grounds across the country.
Additionally, clubs are banned from selling blocks of tickets to visiting fans, and they now have the have the authority to prevent suspected hooligans from entering stadia.
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) President Gianni Petrucci was unhappy with Capello's frank remarks.
"The ultras are in charge? Absolutely not," Petrucci said. "Capello has coached in Italy, I'm a friend of his, and I don't like it when they go abroad and start making judgements about their own country. These declarations don’t exactly thrill me and leave things as they are. It is too easy to talk from on high ans is useless."
FIGC President Giancarlo Abete added: "At times the image that is shown of our fans can be such that it confuses the poor behaviour of a small group with the behaviour of the majority.
"Statistics have shown that episodes of violence have decreased."
Among those still to make keynote speeches at the two-day seminar on topical subjects around the world of Italian football are Abete, the Lega Calcio President Maurizio Beretta and the chief referees designator Pierluigi Collina.