Policemen inspect a damaged pub in Rome after 10 supporters
of English soccer club Tottenham Hotspur were hurt and one
seriously injured in an attack. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
Ten supporters of English soccer club Tottenham Hotspur
were injured, one of them seriously, during an attack in Rome
ahead of a Europa League match against Serie A side Lazio,
The 10, nine British and one American, were attacked outside
a pub near the centre of Rome by dozens of masked men. One
suffered injuries to an artery and is in a serious condition.
A local resident who witnessed the violence and called the
police said the assailants appeared to have planned the
"The Italians were very organised, with helmets, bats, even
balaclavas. There were much fewer of the English," Giuseppe
"I saw four people lying on the ground, one with his forehead
cut open from here to here, probably with a stool taken from
The attack took place at the Drunken Ship, a popular tourist
pub, which was left wrecked by the fight according to
photographs published in Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello
Sport which showed piles of smashed and overturned bar stools
and a pool of blood on the cobblestones outside.
Commenting on their Facebook page the American owners of the
bar, located in the central square of Campo dei Fiori, called
the incident a "tragedy" and said they would consider
Italian newspaper La Repubblica described the scene as "urban
warfare" and said up to 100 Lazio 'Ultras' - hard core fans
of the club who are often associated with far-right politics
- had attacked the pub.
However, police said that among 15 Italians detained were two
fans of AS Roma, Lazio's bitter rivals as the other Serie A
team from the Italian capital, who were charged with violence
and grievous bodily harm.
Lazio issued a statement saying any suggestion that the
assailants were Lazio supporters was "totally groundless."
It said the episode was "pure delinquency," that had nothing
to do with football and called for those responsible to be
European football's governing body UEFA fined Lazio 40,000
euros last month for racist chanting directed at black
players in a match against Tottenham in London in September,
and Spurs manager Andre Villas Boas said he feared a repeat
at Thursday's game in Rome.
Some Italian media reports said the attack may have been
politically motivated, as sizeable sections of Lazio
supporters express extreme right-wing sympathies, while many
fans of the north London side claim a Jewish identity for the
club, some referring to themselves as the "Yid Army".
Hundreds travelled over to see the Europa League match at the
Inside the stadium a group of Lazio supporters chanted "Juden
Tottenham, Juden Tottenham" when the game got underway, and
unfurled a banner saying "Free Palestine".
Tottenham fan Dave Illesly said he had left the bar shortly
before the trouble started but feared further violence at the
game later on.
"That is the trouble with football you never know, when you
come abroad to foreign countries trouble comes to you,"
Illesly said. "I'm not really looking forward to it now, bit
worried to be honest. I just don't know, I would rather go
"I'm going to cover up my Spurs shirt," fellow fan Sean Sill