Last night at the Sicilian derby between Catania-Palermo a policeman was killed during crowd violence. 38 year old Filippo Raciti, who leaves a wife and two children, was killed by a homemade explosive, a 'bomba carta' which exploded in his face. He died in hospital half an hour later from his wounds and from smoke inhalation. A further 60+ police/ carabinieri are receiving hospital treatment, including 1 whose conditions are critical, and hundreds of others sustained injuries. Running battles, throwing of stones, flares, explosives etc continued outside the stadium for some hours after the match. Of those arrested, all Catania fans, over half are under 18.
All Italian football has been suspended indefinitely. From Serie A and B, down to local leagues, women's football, kids' football, international football, youth tournaments, everything. The president of the Italian PFA has called for a least a year's halt. Meetings between league & FA officials, CONI representatives (the overall governing body for sport in Italy) and the minister of the interior and the minister for sport will take place Monday, and further government debates are scheduled for Tuesday.
As you can imagine I have lots to say about this, about policing in this country, about football violence, about ultras, about Sicily, about Italian football culture, but to be honest I don't want to blog about any of it right now. I'm much too upset. And angry. And filled with despair. And can't stop thinking about two kids whose dad isn't coming home because some unutterable idiots chose to mark the eve of their city's patron festival by deliberating staging a mass brawl with the police. This has nothing to do with football.