March 23, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 90  

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Soccer violence across Europe

Gazette File Photo
VIOLENCE IS IN THE AIR. So are chairs, smoke and anger. Canadian hockey sticks and elbows are nothing compared to European soccer riots.

PORTSMOUTH, England (AP) — Police are investigating “large-scale” crowd violence before and after the Premier League game between south coast rivals Portsmouth and Southampton.

Eight people were arrested, several injured and one man taken to a hospital after Portsmouth fans clashed with police following the 1-0 home win at Fratton Park on Sunday.

Cars were damaged, local shop windows smashed, and coins and other objects thrown. Approximately 400 police officers, police dogs and horses were involved in restoring order.

In London, meanwhile, riot police kept rival fans apart at Sunday’s First Division match between West Ham and Millwall.

The game, won 4-1 by Millwall, ended with police and mounted police lined up in front of West Ham fans inside the New Den stadium.

Trouble flared when West Ham goalkeeper Stephen Bywater was sent off in the second half; some 200 Millwall fans then tried to charge at Millwall supporters.

Two West Ham fans were arrested inside the ground for damaging toilets and one Millwall fan was arrested for racial abuse.

More than 1,000 police were involved in security for the match between the two London rivals, described as the biggest security operation in British soccer history.

ROME (AP) — Police arrested 15 people during clashes with fans after the Rome soccer derby between Lazio and AS Roma was suspended following a false rumour that a boy had been killed by police outside the stadium.

Police spokesman Mario Russo said 153 policemen were injured and the ANSA news agency reported that 14 fans were hurt during the night. All of the injured were released from the hospital by Monday morning.

Police reiterated repeatedly that nobody was killed — including announcements on the Stadio Olimpico public address system during the Sunday night match.

Roma captain Francesco Totti and Lazio defender Sinisa Mihajlovic, along with match officials, were questioned by police after midnight to try and determine what exactly happened and how the rumour started.

As the second half began, most of fans at one end of the stadium — Lazio’s end — began chanting “murderers” at the police and demanded that the game be stopped because they claimed police had run over a boy outside the stadium.

Referee Roberto Rosetti suspended the game for “reasons of public order,” perhaps fearing an invasion of the field by fans.

Outside the stadium, fans set small fires and police in riot gear battled with unruly fans, who hurled paving stones and flares.



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