The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) is meeting the government on Monday to decide when Italian football resumes after hooligans killed an Italian policeman. All weekend matches, as well as an international against Romania, were cancelled. The meeting will take place after the funeral of Filippo Raciti, who died in the riots.
The funeral of the policeman killed during the rioting saw thousands of people flooding the cathedral square in Catania in Sicily. The crowds clapped as the flag-draped coffin was brought in with The Pope condemning the post-match clashes between fans and police as a "stain on the football world." Italy’s interior minister who attended the funeral warned of an "extraordinary response" to unprecedented violence.
Giuliano Amato told La Repubblica newspaper: "The fans are risking the possibility of never seeing football again – of being without football forever, with stadiums empty and barred."
The service, led by an archbishop and broadcast live on Italian television, was attended by the policeman’s colleagues as well as Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri.
Overnight, hundreds of people paid their respects to the policeman, visiting his coffin at the city’s police station.
It was initially thought that Raciti died when a homemade bomb was hurled into his vehicle, but an autopsy revealed that the 38 year old police officer died of injuries sustained earlier when he was hit by a blunt object.
In a letter written to the policeman’s family, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said it was "unacceptable that someone should die while carrying out their duty".
On Sunday, the president of the Olympic committee said football clubs that did not respect increased security measures, which includes closed-circuit television cameras and turnstiles, would not be allowed to host matches.
Sports authorities are mulling options including banning the public from matches at stadiums which do not meet recently introduced security criteria and forcing matches to take place behind closed doors.
It is well known that many stadiums are owned by local councils, rather than football clubs, so few have been prepared to foot the bill for improvements in security for fans. [Mof Gimmers]