The chances are that you have already read about the hideous events that occurred in Italy yesterday. After the shooting dead of a Lazio supporter at a service station in Tuscany, there were violent clashes all over Italy. The matches between Roma & Cagliari and Internazionale & Lazio were called off, whilst the match between Atalanta & Milan was abandoned after seven minutes after supporters tried to break through the plexi-glass dividers that acting as fencing in Italian stadia to get at the police. All of this comes, of course, less than twelve months after the entire future of Italian football was thrown into doubt after the death of a policeman at a match between Catania and Palermo. It is believed that Serie A clubs were very unhappy at having to play yesterday afternoon, but that matches were played at the insistence of the police. There is already talk of a blanket and indefinite ban on away support.
It’s important to remember that very little of this is about football – considerably less than it was in this country when there were serious hooligan incidents. The police have a completely different status in Italy to that which they hold in this country, and Italy’s complex and fractious political past has seen them used as a political tool more than they are anywhere else in Europe. Relations between Ultras and the police are practically non-existent, as yesterday’s events demonstrate. Nowhere else in Europe could the (possibly accidental, possibly not – it’s too early to know with any clarity) death of one person have such violent repercussions across a whole country. Anyway, I’m not the best qualified person for you to be reading on this particular subject – I would suggest that you go here for excellent, balanced news on the latest situation.