x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Supporters for Roma and Lazio make Rome football's infernal city

This has not been a good 12 months for the tenants of the Olimpico, nor for Rome's reputation as a place to watch football.

AS Roma supporters and Lazio fans were a tad over enthusiastic in cheering on their teams prior the Italian Serie A football derby, with several scrums breaking out among rival groups that eventually led to police in riot gear being called in.
AS Roma supporters and Lazio fans were a tad over enthusiastic in cheering on their teams prior the Italian Serie A football derby, with several scrums breaking out among rival groups that eventually led to police in riot gear being called in.

On Monday evening, Roma and Lazio met for the capital derby. At stake was either a stride forward, or a setback, in the race for a place in European competition next season.

Three points separate the clubs in Serie A, and those points are currently the difference between fifth spot and seventh, between qualifying for the next Europa League and a 2013/14 campaign limited to domestic ambitions.

By the night's end, after a 1-1 draw, the rest of Europe would have been entitled to ask: "Do we really want either Roma or Lazio involved in continental competitions?"

There were eight arrests after violent clashes, both between fans and with riot police. By the night's end, residents within a kilometre of the Stadio Olimpico were asking: "Why had the fixture been scheduled for a Monday night, when the comings and goings of working folk are more likely to take them through or near the combat zone?"

At weekends, at least, they can make plans to hole up indoors, or spend the time elsewhere. By yesterday morning, local authorities were discussing a proposal that the derby always be staged at midday Saturday or Sunday. Lazio will tomorrow play Fenerbahce in the Europa League behind closed doors because of a Uefa ban on spectators following a series of misdemeanours inside and outside arenas in the course of the competition.

This has not been a good 12 months for the tenants of the Olimpico, nor for Rome's reputation as a place to watch football.

 

sports@thenational.ae

 

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