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Barca attack picking up steam

Barcelona 10 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 15, 2007

Lazio count cost of draw on and off the pitch

ROME, Aug 15 (Reuters) - UEFA will review the Champions League third qualifying round match between Lazio and Dinamo Bucharest which was marred by violence and racist chants, European soccer's governing body said on Wednesday.

Five Romanians were injured in clashes with Lazio fans and one remains in hospital after being stabbed in the side. Inside the ground, Lazio's well-known right wing element chanted racist slogans during Tuesday's 1-1 first leg draw.

'We have to await the referee and observer reports before deciding whether to launch any disciplinary action but we are looking into what went on at Lazio,' a UEFA spokesman said.

'If the violence happened outside of the ground then unfortunately that is a matter for the police and authorities in Italy.

'But we had concerns about racism before the game and if that is the case, then as you know we take a zero tolerance approach on racism.'

Earlier this month UEFA threatened clubs with expulsion from its prestigious competitions and referees were ordered to stop matches immediately if there was any racist or violent behaviour on the pitch or in the stands.

Lazio have been punished by UEFA on three previous occasions over violent and racist behaviour, including being forced to play behind closed doors after racist abuse and crowd disturbances during a UEFA Cup in 2004.

'There is no doubt that there is a violent history surrounding Lazio fans and we always seem to have problems. In fact there was a question mark hanging over their stadium before this game,' the UEFA spokesman said.

'But UEFA can not deal with this alone, it is a wider, social problem across many countries which needs to be tackled in a very tough way by all the authorities.'

Italy has strengthened stadium security following revulsion at the death of a policeman in riots outside a match at Catania in February. The championship was briefly suspended as a warning but violence outside stadiums is still a problem.

'We have already identified the culprits and they will pay,' Italy's Interior Minister Giuliano Amato told reporters.

'We have taken control inside the stadiums. This happened outside the stadium. We will intensify the controls but it is easy to go around the city with a knife in your pocket.'

Several of last season's European matches were dogged by violence and racism, while UEFA and the European Union are due to deliver a new plan to deal with the upsurge in soccer-related incidents later this year.