Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Soccer: Rome attack on Spurs fans linked to anti-Semitism

English
© ANSA

Rome, November 22 - The Italian government was
called on to report to parliament on Thursday after
anti-Semitism was linked to a brutal attack on a group of
Tottenham Hotspur fans in a Rome pub overnight.
Seven fans of English club Tottenham Hotspur were taken to
hospital with injuries and one was in a critical condition after
being set on by a group of assailants wearing helmets and armed
with knives, clubs and knuckle-dusters.
The most badly hurt of the fans, who were in Rome to see
Tottenham take on Lazio in a Europa League match later on
Thursday, is said to have suffered injuries to an artery after
being stabbed in the leg and losing lots of blood.
According to eye-witness accounts, the assailants shouted
"Jews" as they attacked the fans in the Drunken Ship pub in the
central Campo de' Fiori square, one of the focal points of
Rome's night life.
Tottenham, or Spurs, are traditionally considered to have a
strong Jewish element in their fan base and followers continue
to be proud of this, although there seems to be little evidence
that today they have a higher ratio of Jewish fans than other
clubs.
"I call on Interior Minister Annamaria Cancellieri to
report to the Senate on what happened," said Raffaele Ranucci, a
Senator for the centre-left Democratic Party, who also made an
unsuccessful appeal for the match to be postponed.
"It is necessary for the government to show the public and
parliament the dynamics of an attack that is increasingly taking
on anti-Semitic, racist, Fascist connotations".
Some reports said the attack was carried out by as many as
50 youths.
Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said the number of assailants
was smaller as he condemned the attack and called on police to
find the culprits.
"It is an episode of stadium thuggery transported to the
centre of Rome," said Alemanno.
"It's incredible that a group of 16 fans, thugs in reality,
should move deliberately to go on a raid and attack fans of the
opposing team.
"I hope the police and investigators find those
responsible, because what happened shows that a band of madmen
and criminals is in action, hiding behind the support in our
stadiums and this is unacceptable".
Police detained several Italians suspected of taking part
in the raid and searched the homes of around six of them.
An AS Roma supporter was arrested later in the day.
Lazio hardcore 'ultras' were initially blamed by many for
the attack. There are extreme right-wing elements in Lazio's
support, including some Fascist sympathisers.
Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that
supporters of several teams were involved.
Lazio Chairman Claudio Lotito flatly denied suggestions his
side's supporters were responsible.
"Lazio fans have nothing to do with what happened last
night," Lotito said, claiming three non-Italians were among the
attackers.
The head of the central Rome borough where the attack took
place said the signs of it were still visible after dawn.
"I spoke to the pub owner's assistant, who was on duty last
night," said Orlando Corsetti.
"A group of young men wearing helmets attacked the pub,
first throwing rocks and breaking the windows and then starting
the fight and stabbing the English tourists who are fans of
Tottenham.
"We don't know if the incident is linked to the match or
if there are other reasons.
"The pub is totally destroyed and there are still blood
stains in the square".
There have been several incidents of fans of foreign teams
being attacked and stabbed before European soccer games in Rome
in recent years.
Three Middlesbrough supporters were stabbed during
fights with AS Roma fans at the same pub as Thursday's attack
before a UEFA Cup quarter-final in 2006.
Thursday's match against Spurs was meant to be a
celebration as Lotito has invited former England midfielder Paul
Gascoigne to attend.
'Gazza', who has been engaged in a long battle against
alcoholism, played for both clubs and is still highly popular
among Lazio fans.

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