Catania have been ordered to play the remainder of their home games at neutral venues this season after their Massimino stadium was shut down.
Italian Judge, Gianpaolo Tosel, gave the ban and stated that the Sicilian club’s responsiblity for the violence that led to the death of policeman Filippo Raciti at the club’s derby against Palermo on February 2 was "unequivocal". The disciplinary committee of the Italian Football League added that the closure will last until June 30, before fining the club â‚¬50,000 as well.
A statement on the League’s website said the ban reflected "the gravity of the events and the real danger posed by these acts of violence" that had left an "indelible mark in the memory and the collective consciousness", as had "previous acts of violence by [Catania’s] supporters."
The club was fined and forced to play two matches behind closed doors
last September after its supporters fought with those of Messina and
However, Catania’s chief executive Pietro Lo Monaco criticised the
ban’s severity, insisting it will "bring the city to its knees". "It
was clear that our responsibility was limited by the fact that the
violence happened outside the ground," he said.
The League will confirm the venues of Catania’s next two Serie A games
– against Fiorentina on February 18 and Internazionale seven days later
– this week.
One thing remains hanging over this decision. Even though â‚¬50,000 is hardly enough to make a huge dent in the accounts of a football club, it is more serious that previous fines we’ve seen dished out. However, would the authorities be as quick to fine a club like AC Milan or Roma if they had serious crowd trouble? I hope they would but something tells me they won’t. [Mof Gimmers]