Police officer among those injured in clashes.
Italy’s interior ministry on Sunday called for “exemplary sanctions” after hardcore ‘ultra’ football fans clashed in the southern town of Pagani near Naples ahead of a Serie D match between Paganese and Casertana.
The violence began half an hour before kick-off when a bus carrying a group of about 50 Casertana supporters caught fire after a smoke bomb was thrown near the town’s Marcello Torre stadium.
The football fans manged to get off the bus before it went up in flames, and in the ensuing violence several people were taken to hospital with injuries, including a Carabiniere police officer.
There was also damage caused to some private homes and cars parked in the area near the stadium, according to news agency ANSA.
La guerriglia per #PaganeseCasertana, Serie D di calcio. Il #Viminale annuncia pugno duro e una “riflessione sulle partite a rischio, anche nelle serie minori”. (Sound on). pic.twitter.com/z9C5MKShEr
— Rassegnally (@rassegnally) January 22, 2023
The interior ministry said it is ready to proceed with “the utmost rigour” against those behind the clashes and would be assessing new measures to prevent violence at football matches considered “at risk”.
Italy’s deputy premier Matteo Salvini on Twitter posted a video of the hooliganism, labelling those involved as “criminals, not fans” and calling for them to receive a life ban from stadiums.
The violence was also condemned as “unacceptable” by the Casertana club which said in a statement that the “horrifying scenes clash with our way of understanding football.”
The incident in Pagani comes two weeks after clashes between Roma and Napoli ‘ultras’ blocked Italy’s A1 highway near Arezzo, in scenes compared to “the Wild West” by interior ministry undersecretary Nicola Molteni.