16 injured after Serbia fans clash with Italian police
Sixteen people including two police officers were hospitalised after Serbian fans clashed with Italian police following the two countries' cancelled Euro 2012 qualifying match, officials said today.world Updated: Oct 13, 2010 12:54 IST
Sixteen people including two police officers were hospitalised after Serbian fans clashed with Italian police following the two countries' cancelled Euro 2012 qualifying match, officials said on Wednesday.
Police made 17 arrests following the violence in Genoa in northern Italy before, during and after Tuesday's cancelled match, with Serbian fans targeting not just Italian fans and local police but their own team's goalkeeper.
Buses carrying Serbian fans were later escorted out of the city by police to avoid further clashes with Italian fans, Ansa news agency reported.
Officers seized sticks, metal bars and knives from the Serbian fans, as well as a bag carrying large explosive fireworks, the report said.
"We managed to control the area to prevent clashes between Italian and Serbian fans. We succeeded," Marco Azzaro, head of the paramilitary carabinieri force in Genoa, said on the news channel Sky TG24.
"We also arrested an Italian fan armed with metals bars and knives who was attacking Serbian fans and managed to avoid worse consequences," he said.
Azzaro said a total of four carabinieri were injured in the violence.
Il Secolo XIX, the local newspaper in Genoa, reported on its website that 25 people were injured in the clashes and around 20 people were arrested.
The violence brought sharp condemnation from Italy and Serbia.
"The Beasts," read a front-page headline in La Gazzetta dello Sport, accompanied by a picture of one of the ringleaders of the violence.
La Repubblica daily in an editorial called the clashes "A blow to the heart of a sick football," while Il Messaggero said: "We all lost."
The most seriously injured in the violence early Wednesday was a caribiniere officer, who was rushed to hospital after an explosive device detonated in his face. A Serbian fan also suffered facial injuries.
The match was abandoned Tuesday night just six minutes in, after Italy's goalkeeper was hit by a flare, which Serbian fans were throwing onto the pitch and at Italian supporters.
The worst clashes started when some of the fans managed to break out of a gated parking area after the match was abandoned and police in riot gear moved to try to get them under control.