Monday, February 05, 2007

Answers To Come On Wednesday

Italian FA commissioner Luca Pancalli will decide on Wednesday whether Serie A will resume this weekend. He suspended all soccer in the country after rioting Catania fans caused the death of a 38-year-old police officer. Pancalli did this evening admit that the various championships could kick-off again this Sunday, but any decision will only be made after a special government cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The buzz surrounding today's meeting of the game's higher-ups concerned the country's stadiums. It has been confirmed that clubs whose stadiums do not meet the required safety standards will be forced to play games behind closed doors. Italy’s Interior Minister Giuliano Amato underlined that point:
We'll only re-open stadiums which respond to the necessary safety guarantees. Those that don't will remain closed. We will not allow fans to go into a stadium that does not respect the current safety norms. In stadiums like that of Catania [where policeman Filippo Raciti died] I will not admit anyone, I am firm on this. That game shouldn't have been played. Our current norms are efficient if followed.
At present, only five Serie A stadiums meet current safety regulations. However, as many as 10 would be given the green light to stage games if no away fans were permitted entry. A number of other measures, which will be discussed in more detail at a special cabinet meeting on Wednesday, were also pondered today. Those include:
  • Rules to stop the block sale of tickets to away fans for games
  • Police be given the powers to carry out a soccer-related arrest, without a warrant, 48 hours after the event
  • Football stadium banning orders for individuals found guilty of violence at domestic games would also be banned from international matches
  • Laws to rule out any relationship between football clubs and Ultra fan groups
Whatever comes out of Wednesday's meeting, I would bet that games will be played this weekend. Serie A clubs won't be happy having to lose out on two weeks worth of revenue, regardless of the situation.

Italians cannot afford long layoff [CNN]
Italian fans face stadium lockout [BBC]


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