Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More Italian Soccer Stuff

ROME, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Soccer matches in Italy will resume this weekend, the football federation said on Wednesday, after the government approved a tough set of measures to fight hooliganism despite resistance by clubs.

All play had been suspended last Friday following the killing of a policeman by rioting fans outside a stadium in Sicily.

And the "tough set of measures"?

Under the new measures stadiums which are not in line with security regulations will remain closed to fans.

Other measures include a ban on the block sale of tickets to away fans, a beefing-up of stadium bans for those involved in violence, including under 18s, tougher prison sentences for hooliganism and a ban on financial relationships between clubs and fan associations.

Firecrackers will no longer be allowed inside stadiums and, at least initially, there will be no late-night matches.

Well, most of those are what I was writing about yesterday. I hadn't thought about the issue of late-night matches, and I'm not sure what problem they're trying to address. Somewhat surprisingly, booze is not a major contributing factor (although it does play a role) to the mayhem provoked by the Ultras; this is a major difference between soccer hooliganism in Italy and that phenomenon in, say, Britain. Perhaps the issue is more the availability of public transport to get fans away from the stadium.

Anyway, it's progress. Time will tell whether it's enough progress.

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