Italian police acted properly in clashes with Manchester United fans, the government's top security official in Rome said on Thursday.
Rome prefect Achille Serra defended the police action at Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday, where United faced AS Roma in the Champions League.
"It will be cleared up whether there was one clubbing too many, but no one can think that an intervention like this can come off with flowers in one's hand," Serra said in an interview on Italian state TV.
Police, swinging clubs, had charged at United supporters in what Serra described as a bid to prevent them from reaching a section of Roma fans.
Outside the stadium there were more clashes, and two English fans were hospitalized with stab wounds. Serra said at least three of the 18 fans reported injured were Italian.
"On both sides there is a category of violent imbeciles who use knives," Serra said in separate remarks.
But in the TV interview, Serra suggested that the English fans tend to be troublesome.
"The Spanish, the French, the Germans in Milan [in Tuesday's games] -- nothing ever happened," Serra said. "Unfortunately these episodes happen often with the English."
Steven Fitzsimons, who was stabbed in the groin, said he and his friends were ambushed by Roma fans outside the stadium and that there were no police around.
"I got hit in the back of the head, I stumbled to the floor," Fitzsimons said. "When I got up, we were surrounded by Roma fans all with knives. They just attacked us, stabbed us and that was basically it."
Three United fans who were arrested by Italian police in a separate clash will face fast-track trials, the British embassy in Italy said. It was not immediately clear what charges the three Britons will face.
Serra said that the three fans were already released from jail.
"I think that those three, had they been arrested in England, would have stayed in prison for several months," Serra said.
The three fans have been banned from Italian stadiums for three years, and their trial will begin in November, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. Officials at police headquarters and the prefect's office could not immediately be reached for comment.
A British Home Office official, Vernon Coaker, told BBC radio: "The scenes that we saw on our television screens were extremely concerning. We need some explanation of what actually took place and the police response to it."
British officials said that the UK government was gathering evidence from embassy staff and witnesses.
In Rome, the British embassy said that it had supplied a report on the match to the Home Office, and that Manchester police were working "in partnership" with Italian police.
Shortly before halftime, police in riot gear clashed with some of United's 4,500 fans. Police hit fans with batons as opposing fans taunted and threw objects at each other across the partition separating the rival sections. At least one fan was seen lying in the stands with blood all over his face.
Manchester United said on Thursday in a statement that it would look into the police clashes with fans.
"There were clearly some very disturbing scenes in the stadium on Wednesday night," the club said on its Web site.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen