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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 13, 2007

Atalanta president determined to out Ultras

Atalanta president Ivan Ruggeri is determined to shut down 'la curva' at the Atleti Azzurri d'Italia stadium in Bergamo to combat hooliganism.

La curva is the section where the Atalanta ultras - extreme fans - watch games and on Sunday violence erupted there, forcing the abandonment of the game against AC Milan.

The chaos was prompted by the killing of a Lazio fan, who was accidentally shot by a police officer earlier in the day.

An angry mob of fans also stormed the CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) headquarters in Rome later that evening.

'The scenes we saw in Bergamo should never be seen in the football world,' said Ruggeri.

'I want to state that on Sunday, there were 24,000 people at the stadium in Bergamo and 20,000 have turned against the curva and this is an important sign.

'Bergamo cannot tolerate this, Bergamo is one of the most industrial cities in Italy and cannot tolerate 200 or 300 vandals who cause havoc at a football game.'

Atalanta ultras had wanted Sunday's game to be postponed following the death of Lazio supporter Gabriele Sandri at a motorway rest stop in Arezzo.

Police were trying to prevent clashes between Lazio and Juventus fans from escalating.

'I want to state that the incident in Arezzo has nothing to do with football,' Ruggeri added to Sky Italia. 'These are incidents that can happen at any time, in any city and in any country.

'My dream is to close la curva and have families and kids instead. But in order to achieve that dream, I need the police to help me because alone I cannot achieve it.'

The National Observatory on Sporting Events recommended yesterday, among other proposals, to close la curva for the entire season.

'Our intention is to close our ultra section at the stadium,' Ruggeri reiterated. 'I believe we have to intervene, our football is sick and I have been saying this for a long time and we must take action.'

Ruggeri feels the policing at the stadium could have been improved on Sunday.

'I partly feel abandoned by the police officers. Although it's true that stewards are there, they are frightened,' he said. 'They were forced to abandon it, they were scared and someone else should have replaced them.

'It's true that little by little, the police are abandoning the stadia but in cases like this they should intervene.'