Napoli may host Arsenal with no fans
Napoli will have to stage their final Champions League group match against Arsenal without any fans at the Stadio San Paolo if UEFA decides to close the venue due to recent crowd disturbances.
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The Serie A side have received repeated warnings from Europe's governing body to exercise better control over the conduct of their fans, but incidents inside and around the stadium prior to and during their 3-2 win over Marseille earlier this month have tested UEFA's patience.
They are concluding a report into that match, which saw the windscreen of a minibus bringing Marseille players to the stadium smashed and various dangerous items and weapons discovered by local police.
During the game, both sets of fans lit flares and threw fireworks after stewards failed to confiscate the prohibited items at the gates. As a result, UEFA could force Napoli to stage their final Group F fixture against the Gunners behind closed doors on Dec. 11.
The solicitor to the Serie A club, Mattia Grassani, remains hopeful that fans will still be allowed to attend and potentially celebrate their progress into the knockout phase.
"The UEFA delegates recognised that Napoli have made improvements in the way they organise things in the report they submitted at the end of the Marseille game," he told the local Il Mattino newspaper. "They highlighted how everybody had worked together to improve the success of the sporting event.
"If all we get is a fine, then that would be a great result."
Napoli's final group game will be a celebration for the fans regardless of the verdict if Rafa Benitez's men manage to secure their place in the last 16 by at least drawing with Borussia Dortmund next Tuesday.
Defeat in Germany, however, would mean the Partenopei would most probably need to beat the Gunners to stand any chance of going through and the support of a packed San Paolo, where they have already beaten Dortmund 2-1 and Marseille 3-2 this season, could be crucial.