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Genoa-Sampdoria set for Monday

Genoa and Sampdoria supporters have succeeded in forcing the Derby della Lanterna to be put back to Monday night rather than the Sunday lunchtime kick-off they had threatened to boycott.

A public safety committee meeting in the Prefecture of Genoa on Friday took the decision to postpone the game, officially due to the presence of a market in the city on the same day. However, their decision comes less than 48 hours before kick-off while the game had been scheduled two weeks ago.

In recent days, groups of rival fans had threatened to protest outside the Stadio Luigi Ferraris rather than entering for a game which was due to take place at an unpopular time. With the threat of clashes, the city's police authorities asked for the game to be moved, and the Prefecture obliged on Friday.

The Sant'Agata market takes place over a mile away from the Ferraris.

"The reason for the postponement is principally not to have two events which are important for the city taking place at the same time," Giacomo Tinella, head of the Genova Municipal Police, said in a statement. "This way, there is the chance for the market to take place as it should while, at the same time, the football match can also be staged correctly and peacefully for the fans."

The public safety committee meeting lasted less than 25 minutes and there were no representatives of the two clubs in attendance.

Rival fans have protested against the lunchtime kick-off, introduced by the Lega Serie A several years ago in a bid to increase worldwide coverage of Italian football by being able to transmit a game live in an evening slot in the Far East markets. Such kick-off times already existed in the Premier League and Spanish Primera Division.

"It's a day and a timeslot which is disrespectful to the fans who go to the stadium," the Tito Cucchiaroni Ultras group of Sampdoria fans said. "If they think they are going to get a spectacle to fill their television cameras with, then they've got it all wrong.

"From Tuesday, we're going to work on a proposal to be put out nationally to fans, ultras or not, to allow football fans to have be represented when decisions are being made on issues which have been on the table for far too long (ticket prices, kick-off times, away games)."

Their voice has already been heard in Genoa with the derby now taking place on Monday evening at 20:45 rather than on Sunday at 12:30.

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