Italian football matches suspended after violence

Italy's football authorities decided to suspend second and third division matches in the wake of the fatal police shooting.

updated: November 14, 2007 19:09 IST
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Italy's football authorities decided to suspend second and third division matches at the weekend in the wake of the fatal police shooting of a fan that sparked widespread riots.

First division matches are unaffected since none were scheduled this weekend.

At least 40 police required hospital treatment after the running battles in several cities on Sunday which newspapers dubbed the return of the "nightmare" of hooliganism.

The trouble started after Gabriele Sandri, a Lazio fan, was shot in the neck by a policeman while in a car at a motorway rest area where there had been fighting between Lazio and Juventus supporters, according to police.

The 31-year-old policeman, who has not been named, told a newspaper he shot Sandri, a Rome-based DJ, by accident. On Monday, he was facing manslaughter charges.

Sandri's family has called the killing murder.

Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri urged football authorities meeting on Monday evening to take tough action, "even possibly suspending the championship over the next few weeks."

Speaking after an emergency meeting of government officials and football authorities, Melandri said, "Everyone feels the need for strong and meaningful decisions from the world of football."

Meanwhile, the policeman was facing manslaughter charges.

Vincenzo Giacobbe, police chief of Arezzo near where Sandri was killed, said tougher charges might be laid with numerous witnesses saying he had "probably" aimed at the tyres of the car Sandri was in.

The policeman told the Corriere della Sera daily that he accidentally fired the fatal shot as he was running, just seconds after firing a warning round in the air.