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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 6, 2007

Italy minister won't be rushed to resume calcio

Italy's interior minister Giuliano Amato has warned Serie A and B clubs the government will not be rushed into any hasty decisions regarding when to resume football in the country after last week's death of a policeman at the Catania v Palermo Sicily derby match.

Football has been suspended at all levels of the game indefinitely following the killing of Filippo Raciti, a 38-year-old father of two, who was buried on Monday.

Serie A and B club chairmen today claimed they were ready to resume playing this weekend although they oppose government plans to ban spectators from stadia not considered to have met the requisite security standards.

But Amato, a former Italian prime minister, has made it clear the government will not be rushed into resuming football.

'From the football world we will have a lot of pressure for the show to continue,' said Amato.

'We have the duty towards our law enforcers and the citizens to resist these pressures.

'The well-being of Italian families is more important than the economic interests of those who want the show to continue.'

Enrico Letta, under-secretary to prime minister Romano Prodi, said: 'We will take urgent measures.

'Some of them will be reinforced and others will be innovations. The government will propose a law to Parliament regarding the relationship between clubs, stadia and the relationship of fans.

'The first regulations will be done immediately with an urgent decree and will be linked to the need of guaranteeing public order, which is the absolute priority.'

A decision could be taken on Wednesday although football will not be resumed without government approval.

Earlier the chairmen, meeting at a hotel near Rome's Fiumicino airport, had declared their desire to resume action this weekend.

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini said: 'We are all in agreement to return to play on Sunday.

'We are also all in agreement not to allow fans to travel to away games.'

However, Zamparini is opposed to banning home fans from stadia.

'We agree with banning fans from travelling to away games - this should reduce the number of problems,' he said. 'But we are all against playing behind closed doors.'

Zamparini also confirmed that clubs will donate 10,000 euros each, a total of £276,000, to the family of Raciti.

Atalanta president Ivan Ruggeri is another opposed to playing games behind closed doors.

'If this is confirmed I will propose to the League not to play,' said the supremo of the Bergamo-based club.

'I don't think it's fair for us to be hindered like this. I understand that it is a serious problem and we are all very hurt by what has happened.

'But frankly, I believe this decision is excessive. It would mean that 95% of the games will be staged without fans.'

An estimated £9.9m is lost by halting a day's games in Italian football.

Luca Pancalli, the commissioner of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), believes this weekend's games could be played.

'There are the means to return to play on Sunday,' Pancalli said. 'But we will have to wait until tomorrow's government meeting before making a final decision.'