Today's news out of Italy centered on Serie A's clubs in Europe, three in particular. The first story had to do with Roma and their first-leg Champions League match against Lyon. As part of security measures adopted after the Catania riots, all night games in the country had been cancelled for the month of February. This created a TV conflict when it came to the Champions League, that kicks off all of it's games simultaneously. That meant a 8:45pm start in Rome, at odds with the new regulations. But since the Stadio Olimpico is one of the few grounds that were sanctioned to allow fans in this past weekend, the government decided to not hold this match to domestic requirements concerning it's start time.
Livorno coach Daniele Arrigoni has criticized the decision by the Italian authorities and UEFA to close the club's Stadio Picchi to fans for tomorrow's UEFA Cup match. The government had given Livorno supporters hope that they might still be able to get in when a special commission was sent to check the stadium this afternoon. The club's last-ditch effort to pass the new security regulations didn't work, as it was decided that not enogh had been done to get the keep the game from being played behind closed doors. Experience the eeriness of it all tomorrow, live on Setanta at 2:40pm ET.
Meanwhile, Italy's other UEFA Cup participant, Parma, travel to Portugal to take on Braga on Thursday. There hasn't been any word yet as to the status of Parma's home-leg match next week on the 22nd. Instead, the club's supporters woke up to this morning to the news that the team had dumped Stefano Pioli and replacedhim with Claudio Ranieri.
In the excitement of it all, Ranieri got a little carried away and let this out of his pie-hole: "I will take no prisoners, leave nobody injured, you’re either with me or you die." Suffice it to say, a poor choice of words in light of recent developments. Credit to Parma's new boss for issuing a quick apology, and according to one journalist, he's too good of a person to beat him up over it.
Olimpico gets Lyon go-ahead [Channel 4]
Arrigoni laments silent Picchi [Channel 4]
Ranieri replaces Pioli at Parma [Italian Calcio]
Ranieri's Parma faux pas [Channel 4]
All hail Claudio Ranieri [Guardian Sport Blog]