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Italian league halted by violence

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has called off all this weekend's Serie A and Serie B games after a policeman was killed at a match on Friday.
Officer Filippo Raciti died as violence flared during the Serie A game between Sicilian rivals Catania and Palermo.

FIGC has also cancelled Italy's friendly with Romania on Wednesday and all matches until a solution is found.

Commissioner Luca Pancalli said: "What we're witnessing has nothing to do with soccer, so Italian soccer is stopping."

He added that the decision to stop the games for the duration of the weekend was not enough, and said there would be more meetings on Monday "to identify those drastic measures that will allow us to restart. Otherwise, we're not restarting the games."

The game was already given an early time slot on Friday because of fears over public safety.

The derby game was suspended after an hour when tear gas, used by police to break up the fighting outside the ground, drifted onto the field.

There was fighting outside the ground, reported ANSA news agency, because Palermo fans could not get into Catania's Stadio Massimino until the second half.

The two teams fled the pitch for the dressing-room, with the game suspended for 30 minutes.

Prior to kick-off, a minute's silence had been held following the death of a club official from lower league club Sammartinese at a game last weekend.

Atfer the match, fans continued to fight running battles with police on the streets outside the stadium and around 100 people were being treated for injuries.

The federation said that another police officer was in critical condition, and police said dozens of people with lesser injuries had been taken to local hospitals.

Catania club executive Pietro Lo Monaco reacted to news of the officer's death by announcing he would leave football.

"I've heard that a policeman has died," he said. "To speak of football right now seems useless. For me this is the end. I will leave the football world.

"I don't recognise myself in this world anymore. I have loved football intensely but after this right now it seems absurd."

Palermo coach Francesco Guidolin was quick to blame Catania fans for the violence.

"We won the match, but we cannot enjoy this victory," said Guidolin. "Football cannot last for much longer like this. There will be no joy in it."

The Catania prosecutor's office has announced an investigation into the incident.

Italian prime minister Romano Prodi also issued a statement.

"After the serious incidents that occurred tonight in Catania, my first thought is for the people that have been affected and for their families," he said.

"I feel a duty to say that we need a strong and clear signal to avoid the degeneration of this sport which we are seeing more dramatically and more often."

Palermo had taken the lead through Andrea Caracciolo, but Catania equalised within 60 seconds of the teams coming back out thanks to Fabio Caserta.

Palermo won the game with a controversial David di Michele goal in the 83rd minute.
this is crazy a policeman was killed and one in a critical state.
Italian soccer makes a lot of headlines these days - unfortunately not for good soccer. Sad
I can't believe soccer fans actually killed somebody and that game was not the only one where fights occured! In my opinion it was the right decision to stop playing until this huge violence/security problem is solved.
sad to see italian soccer in this state. After the world cup victory, things should improve, not worsen! i hope everything is resolved quickly
Well... The Italian govermant and the football assosiation need to find a solution and fast, because this way can't be anymore.

The violence in the soccer in Italy is very terrible and it can't be anymore.
i hope that because of this, UEFA Euro 2012 will be played in croatia, and not in italy
Italy made a serious step towards not hosting the EURO 2012...But by my opinion Croatia isn't any safer at all...Just look at all the incidents at the matches between Hajduk and Dinamo and everything is clear...
All the violence and scandle in Italy over the past few years has been disgraceful, and the death of this police man should make the authorities wake up and smell the coffee.

It's good to see that they have closed all stadia and forced them to be upgraded to a safe leve before been re opened.

UEFA need to consider banning Italian clubs from European competition for at least a few years to try and stamp out the bad blood in Italian football.
The Italian government stepped in to begin the daunting task of ending fan violence. Some of the measures include: end sales of block trades, suspending fan clubs associations, designated seating, shifting responsibility from government to clubs and increasing jail sentences from three to five years for violence.

As it stands, only six clubs - not including San Siro in Milan - out of 25 stadiums have been allowed to admit fans back. “Ghost” stadiums are not going to solve anything except temporarily give a reprieve if they do not reign in the utlras.

So soccer's back on in Italy, but the fans are out of it. I wonder how they'll solve this problem. The violence has grown over years, it's gonna be a though job to end it now!
It's the only right think to do was not let people on stadiums that doesnt have securety so the people will come to their sences and go on soccer matches to see the game not to fight... I know it's sometimes have to fight but not on the streets and with a result: one police man dead... it's shamefull.. For the first week everybody was shocked and saying that something has to be done but now a few weeks later nobody even remembers what happened and in a month or so i think that fans will be allowed back on stadions because the pressure of clubbs will be so big that the federation will not be able to sestain it.... shameful !!!
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