Violence in Italy, hooligan jailed in England

ROME: The violence that has dogged Italian soccer this season looks set to continue in the new year after 13 policemen were injured, one badly, following clashes with Atalanta fans at their Serie A match against Como. 

Police officer Alberto Lanzara, 31, is in hospital after being punched and kicked in the face during the clashes at the train station in Reggio Emilia after Sunday’s match. 

Earlier, the game was interrupted for several minutes after a lump of ice thrown from a section of the stadium occupied by Como fans injured a linesman. 

Como were only playing at Reggio Emilia’s Giglio stadium because of a four-match ban on their home ground, imposed after crowd violence forced the abandonment of their match against Udinese in December. 

Meanwhile, AS Roma fans gave a curt response to team captain Francesco Totti’s involvement in a Rome city council campaign against football violence and racism in which the catchphrase was “Me, no”. 

As the players lined up on the pitch for the game against Chievo Verona, a banner was unfurled in the south stand where Roma’s ultra groups sit that read: “Totti, for you no, for us yes”. 

Another banner was held up at the end of the first half, wishing everyone “A happy new year and happy new fights”, while behind it fans lit flares and mimed a punch-up. 

Italian football has been dogged by violence this season. In November, Messina goalkeeper Emanuele Manitta was punched unconscious by a fan during a Serie B match against Cagliari and Napoli captain Francesco Baldini was attacked after a drawn game against Palermo.  

  • A man believed to be Britain's oldest football hooligan was jailed for five years here yesterday for attacking a police horse. 

    Raymond Everest, 56, a lorry driver and former Millwall match steward, became the first person in British legal history to be convicted by a jury of riot. 

    Passing sentence, Judge Philip Statman told Everest: “Riot is the gravest of all public order offences.” 

    Everest's actions were caught on closed circuit television following a match at London club Millwall on May 2 last year. 

    “You are the oldest of all those arrested. You have shown from start to finish no remorse. You have bought shame on your family and on the club you purport to support,” justice Statman added. 

    The judge also banned Everest from all football grounds in England and Wales for the next eight years. 

    Prosecutors told the jury that Everest had also joined in when others charged police lines and had “aided and abetted” violence. 

    After Everest was sentenced, Detective Inspector Bob Campany, of the Metropolitan Police's serious crime croup, said outside court: “Football violence isn't exclusive to young men.” 

    In all 157 police officers and 26 police horses were injured in the two-hour incident after Millwall lost 1-0 at their New Den ground in south-east London to Birmingham City in the English First Division play-off semi-final. – Agencies 

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