TURIN: Renzo Ulivieri was sacked as coach of Torino on Monday, two days after crowd violence forced the Italian First Division club’s match against AC Milan to be abandoned.
The club, second from bottom of Serie A, did not give a reason for Ulivieri’s departure, but the announcement came hot on the heels of a woeful performance in Saturday’s match, which came to a halt after Torino fans clashed with police when they tried to invade the pitch.
In a statement posted on their website, the Turin-based club said youth team coaches Renato Zaccerelli and Giacomo Ferri would take the reins from Ulivieri, who had been Torino’s coach for just four months.
“I’m sorry,” Ulivieri said in a statement. “In four months I understood the importance of this club and I was as devoted to it as if I had been here for 40 years.
“I thank the club, the city and the fans who granted me the honour of letting me suffer alongside them,” the 62-year-old said.
Ulivieri took over from Giancarlo Camoliese in October but the former Bologna coach failed to stop Torino’s poor run of results – they have won just two of their 21 matches this season and relegation to Serie B is looking likely.
The club, nicknamed The Bulls, showed their brutish side at the weekend when a riot broke out in one of the Stadio Delle Alpi’s stands and fans attempted a pitch invasion.
With Milan leading 3-0, angry fans made it onto the athletics track around the pitch, where they clashed with tear gas-spraying police. The game was abandoned in the 64th minute – the second Serie A match to be stopped this season.
On Monday Turin police announced the first arrests under new legislation put in place last week. Two 29-year-old men and a 25-year-old were in police custody for their part in the trouble.
The Italian government passed a decree last Friday that gives police the opportunity to arrest suspects up to 36 hours after an incident, ending the restrictive legal situation that effectively meant vandals had to be caught red-handed.
The old law meant that arrest figures following major incidents were always very low and ruled out use of video or photographic evidence to apprehend miscreants.
In December, Como’s game against Udinese was abandoned with the home side banned from playing at their stadium for four games.
But Torino are likely to face an even tougher sanction because of the more serious violence. – Reuters