|Tributes pour in from slain Lazio fan Gabriele Sandri [AFP]|
Football in Italy’s second and third division will be suspended on the weekend, following fan violence which followed the shooting of a Lazio supporter by a policeman.
Italy visit Scotland in a crunch Euro 2008 qualifier on Saturday as part of an international break for European football, meaning there is no top-flight action but games in Serie B and Serie C have been postponed this Sunday as a mark of respect to the dead fan.
“The decision by the federation… is to suspend the professional championships of B and C scheduled for next Sunday,” Italian soccer federation (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete said.
It is the second time in a year that FIGC has now had to halt league action because of hooliganism.
Italy are due to host Faroe Islands in Modena on November 21 with Serie A expected to resume a week on Sunday.
Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri earlier urged the soccer authorities to make a “strong gesture” and suspend the domestic championships for a few weeks but Abete was happy with the decision taken.
“We believe that we have given an important signal of willingness. We believe that in this situation football has been the victim and not the protagonist,” he said.
Italy’s anti-hooligan body has also banned large groups of potentially violent away supporters from all grounds.
The group wants to decide on a game-by-game basis which visiting fans can go to stadiums and has urged authorities to quickly implement the idea of ‘supporter passports’.
Meanwhile, Italian police have again said the fatal shooting of Lazio fan Gabriele Sandri was accidental.
The unnamed officer is under investigation for manslaughter and has been re-assigned to internal duties.
The officer encountered a disturbance between fans of Rome club Lazio and Turin’s Juventus at a motorway service station near the Tuscan city of Arezzo, hours away from the two teams’ respective matches.
“I didn’t point it at anything, I didn’t aim at anybody,” he said.
“The first shot I fired into the air and the second left me while I was running. Now I have destroyed two families, the man’s and mine.”
Officials have yet to decide what to do about the Inter Milan v Lazio and AS Roma v Cagliari matches, which were postponed on Sunday because of the shooting and whether to play the Atalanta game or award the points to Milan.
Sandri’s father posted a message in his shop window on Monday saying: “Yesterday a dirty bastard killed my son, may he be damned forever.”