Once again Rome was burning and once again the Manchester United fans were enveloped in it. Although the security alert in the Italian city was heightened to Category A, considered as a high risk level, the police forces still failed to control the fighting that broke out between Man United and AS Roma supporters just before the two sides’ UEFA Champions League fixture in the Stadio Olimpico.
The trouble commenced outside the stadium about an hour before the match was supposed to begin when around 50 Roma and Man United supporters stared throwing tables and bottles at each other. Although it is still not clear which set of fans kindled the trouble (and indeed in such matters the instigators are often shielded somehow), no one doubts which club’s fans were affected the most.
7 Manchester United fans were stabbed and all have been taken to hospital. Their conditions, although not life-threatening, are critical as they have lost quite a lot blood from the backside, the portion where the Roma supporters stabbed them. One Roma fan too has been stabbed as some reports state.
This is what the British embassy officially stated about the gruesome incident:
Seven Manchester United supporters were taken to hospital after fighting broke out on the bridge, which fans cross over the river to get to the stadium. Five are receiving treatment for stab wounds while two others, one whom was a 16-year-old boy, were understood to be drunk.
Last season too a similar incident occurred in Rome ahead of the two sides’ clash in the Champions League quarter-final first leg tie in the same venue when 11 Manchester United supporters were hospitalized. This time though with heightened police forces and deployment of more vigilant guards, things were expected to be under control but Wednesday night’s appalling incident has proved once more that there is a lot to be done.
Violence in Italian football is not uncommon and the Italian football federation has somehow been crippled in tackling the issue. UEFA too has tried its best to clampdown on violence in Italian football but it too has failed to stern the situation. Wednesday night’s incident is another stark reminder that Italian football is still trapped in a mess and more needs to be done to save it from worsening.