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By ESPN Staff

Mafia may be behind Napoli hooligans, say police

ROME, Sept 3 (Reuters) - The hooliganism that marred Napoli's Serie A opener at AS Roma last weekend may have been orchestrated by the Naples Mafia, Italy's police chief Antonio Manganelli said on Wednesday.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni has banned the Naples club's fans from travelling to away games this season after the trouble, in which a Rome-bound train was ransacked causing half a million euros in damage.

'We have reason to believe that there was the influence of organised crime behind the incidents provoked by the Neapolitan fans,' Manganelli was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency.

'It's no coincidence that this investigation has been entrusted to the DDA (District Anti-Mafia Department).'

The ticketless fans fought with police and railway workers before effectively occupying the train in Naples. After they refused to get off, police advised regular passengers to disembark and take other trains.

There were also scuffles outside Rome's Olympic stadium between police and Napoli fans and more incidents on the supporters' return journey after the match, which ended 1-1.

The Naples Mafia, the Camorra, has a violent grip on the local drugs trade and its involvement in the lucrative business of illegal rubbish dumping was a major factor behind the recent trash crisis in the city.

Italy has a serious hooliganism problem. A policeman and a fan of Rome club Lazio were killed in separate incidents last year.

Maroni said that the authorities may decide to stage some high-risk games behind closed doors in the future.

Napoli fans were frequently hit by bans on travelling to away games last season, but the authorities wanted to give them the chance to prove they had turned over a new leaf by letting them attended the Roma match.

The Italian Soccer Federation may order Napoli to play some home matches behind closed doors after Sunday's trouble, media reported.


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