Soccer

Only 6 Italian soccer stadiums meet security requirements

Play in Italian soccer's top two divisions will go ahead this weekend, but there won't be a lot of fans inside the stadiums to watch the games.

Play in Italian soccer's top two divisions will go ahead this weekend, but there won't be a lot of fans inside the stadiums to watch the games.

The Italian government ruled Thursday that only six soccer stadiums meet new security requirements: the Olimpico in Rome, the Marassi in Genoa, the Artemio Franchi in Siena, the Sant'Elia in Cagliari, the Barbera in Palermo and the Olimpico in Turin.

The new security requirementswere imposedin response to last week's death of a police officer during riots at a game in Sicily.

Venerable San Siro, the stadium shared by soccer giants AC Milan and Inter Milan, isn't up to snuff. Stadiums in Florence, Naples and Bologna were also among the 25 considered unsafe.

Further inspections will be done Friday, so clubs have another chance to bring their stadiums up to code.

Earlier this week, the Italian soccer federation said Wednesday that soccer would resume this weekend after the federal government approved tough new security measures to fight hooliganism and violence at games.

The Italian cabinet approved measures that could force Italian teams in Serie A and Serie B — the Italian first and second divisions — to play without fans present if their stadiumsdon't meet the new standards.

The government's action comes in the aftermath of last Friday's incident in Sicily, in which a 38-year-old police officer was killed outside the stadium during rioting between fans of Palermo and Catania.

The death of the police officer and the rioting prompted Italian Soccer Federation commissioner Luca Pancalli to cancel all games in Serie A and B on the weekend. The Italian national team's exhibition game against Romania this past Wednesday was also called off.

Italian teams are not happy about the prospect of playing home games in empty stadiums. Several teams suggested a possible strike action in response, but eventually ruled against it.

"We demonstrated great maturity by deciding to play," AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said.

"If a law is passed, then we must respect it. Our stadium wasn't outside of the law, it is just that the legislation was passed before our renovation work could be completed."

The death in Catania was just the latest to besmirch Italian soccer this season.

Last month, Ermanno Licursi, director of amateur team Sanmartinese, was killed in a fight with opposition players after the final whistle of a game against Cancellese.

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