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May 7, 2014

Napoli fan gets five-year stadium ban

The Napoli fan who negotiated with captain Marek Hamsik prior to Saturday's Coppa Italia final has been banned from attending sporting events for five years, while fans at the Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday night showed their support for the victim of a shooting in Rome at the weekend.

• PM wants Italian football reform

Gennaro De Tommaso, known as "Genny 'a Carogna," climbed over the perimeter fencing of the Stadio Olimpico and spoke with Hamsik prior to the start of Saturday's cup final, which commenced with a delay of 45 minutes as Napoli fans first threatened the game's abandonment after hearing that a fan had been shot.

He was wearing a shirt calling for the Catania fan who shot and killed a police officer in 2007 to be released from jail.

"The same sanction will be applied to anybody else who wears a 'Speziale libero' shirt," said Italy's Interior Minister Angelino Alfano after announcing the ban.

Meanwhile, at the Stadio San Paolo, Napoli's fans expressed their support for the fan, Ciro Esposito, who was shot at the weekend, and who still remains in a critical condition in hospital, with numerous banners around the ground. The celebrations for a 3-0 win over Cagliari were particularly subdued.

"Ciro is in a serious condition, he's in a coma," said Esposito's mother to RAI television. "I want justice to be done. My son's more dead than he is alive. I want to appeal to the State, who have not yet said anything. Ciro is a good lad, a fan among fans, a normal lad who has never been involved in any fights."

Meanwhile, Napoli coach Rafael Benitez paid tribute to his team and Napoli's fans for their performance and support on Tuesday night.

"It wasn't easy preparing this game at a time when we are all worried about the state of health of one of our fans," said the Spaniard. "But we felt our duty to focus on the game and I think we set an example, as did our fans who were impeccable.

"Things like [Saturday] should never happen. The authorities must find a solution. We as coaches should be talking about football, not these things."

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