Wednesday, 7 February 2007

They've got a plan. Cunningness as yet to be determined.

So, Minister of the Interior Amato has a Plan with a capital P for how he's going to clean up Italian football. At this evening's cabinet meeting the government line was decided upon, and it's if anything more rigorous than expected. A 15 page, 13 article document has been agreed upon, for official confirmation, and broadly outlined at a press confernce by Amato, Melandri and Minister for Justice Mastella. The full text won't be available til tomorrow morning when it's presented to a special parliamentary session for approval, but the broad outline is clear, and it goes like this.

Matchday Provisions
  • Ban on flares, rockets, smoke bombs, bangers etc increased in severity (max fine now €2000 not €500, max banning orders increased from 6 months to 3 years) and to be rigorously enforced. Even possession, for 24 hrs before and after a match, is no an offence.
  • Match to be immediately halted as soon as any object of whatever kind is thrown onto the pitch. Game to be automatically awarded against the side whose fans are guilty of the offence.
  • No more evening matches until new regulations are fully functioning and a notable improvement in behaviour can be seen [at least a month or so, they say]
  • No block sales of away tickets or special trains etc., group away travel to end
  • No free tickets for ultras
  • Greater responsibility for the behaviour of their fans.
  • Clubs reponsibile for stewarding and crowd safety
  • No more stewards with criminal records for violence (!!) or who are known to be ultras [rocket science, I tells ya]
  • No more financial or organisational links with ultras groups [this is one of the few things many ultras might actually go fo as well]
  • Absolutely no exemption from the Pisanu requirements. At all. Not even for you, Mr Berlusconi. So nerr.
  • Longer term, to be further upgraded for crowd safety (with government financial assistance?)
  • To become at least partially the concern of the club(s) using them.
  • Total seperation of home and away fans to be enforced, wherever possible, by the stadium structure itself [i.e. not just a perspex wall easily scaled by anyone reasonably sprightly]
  • Arrest can now take place up to 48 hours after the event (for disorder etc)
  • Prison sentences from 5 to 15 years for resisting/obstructing an officer in the execution of their duty
  • "Preventive" banning orders for those "strongly suspected" of being troublemakers [Yeah, that doesn't sound flagrantly illegal if not downright unconstitutional at all....]
  • Violent offences in and around the staidum to be processed as quickly as possible [a bit like our Tone's fast-track justice, then]

So... absolutely no exemptions to the Pisanu requirements on stadia, including for European games, and hence nearly all matches to be played behind closed doors. Fair play to them for making a rule and sticking to it rather than caving to the enormous amount of pressure from the clubs. It's just a shame that the rule they're sticking to isn't a very well thought out one. Paolo Maldini commented that football without fans would be meaningless, and he's right. I mean, this is a spectator sport, right? so without spectators....?? Oh wait, I forgot, we're meant to sit at home and watch on the telly. So much more civilised, and all our money goes to Sky. Much better.

The more serious criticism has been voiced by Zamparini, and this is my feeling precisely: this is irrelevant given that not only last week but in nearly all episodes of Italian hooliganism, the violence has taken place OUTSIDE the stadium. Either immediately outside or in nearby carparks, alleyways, prearranged meeting points, who knows. But not inside the stadium. And what precisely will playing behind closed doors do to stop this? er, nothing.

There are some sensible ideas here, and also some stupid and/or irrelevant ones. So: Where is the program of publicity/ education? where are the proposals about points deductions which might make people sit up & take notice? why are we not banning political symbols (celtic crosses etc) if we're banning smoke bombs (which are essentially totally harmless)? where, where oh where is the discussion of policing reform, of training, of good crowd management, of liaison with fans not just beating them up? The underlying social and political issues have not been addressed at all, though that's fair enough in an immediate response.

So, what do we all think about these measures? Comment please!

And finally, another 7 arrests gave taken place today, 5 under-18, and one of the 7 is a member of Forza Nuova, everybody's favourite fascist agitators. The police seem pretty certain they've got their guy as well though still no charge or naming of the chief suspect.


punk said...

sono buone misure quelle varate dal governo
ma si deve fare di piĆ¹ in futuro con miglioramenti.

Martha said...

I don't know where they got the list, but according to, only Ascoli, Atalanta, Catania, Cagliari, and Udinese will be be closed this weekend. The other Serie A grounds were apparently deemed close enough to the standards to be open.

Spangly Princess said...

martha, I've commented over on your excellent blog, that's slightly outdated information from before this evening's cabinet meeting. Despite Berlusconi's clearly self-serving (or rather, Milan-serving) comments, the San Siro has not been passed. No exemptions are going to be made (just yet, at least).

Martha said...

Thanks for your massive help, SP. I think (fingers cross) I got it sorted it out. As things stand this second, anyway!

ginkers said...

I really don't see what good closing the stadiums will do. Indeed, it might prompt more trouble with irate gangs gathering outside the grounds. It is also penalising the decent fans for the actions of idiots. Better to REALLY take action against these people when they are caught in order to keep them away from football.

martinobhoy said...

I admit I cant understand the closed doors idea especially as it was trouble outside the ground that started all this.

In the short term I would have went for a ban on away fans. Not ideal but at least everyone still gets to see their own team.

So it looks like Milan v Celtic will be at a neutral venue now?

TrentToffee said...

It's a tough call for them. Stopping the season was never a serious option. Playing behind closed doors was/is.

It's only right that the paper should ask for more involvement from the clubs regarding stewarding. Also, I don't know the situation between the clubs and the Police but they need to work in tandem w.r.t intelligence gathering (i.e know your fans).

All this talk of "the English way" is nonsense, but, there is one English/Scottish/Welsh/German/Spanish/Mongolian thing that should be introduced (IMHO), and that is that the clubs should own the stadiums. I'm sure it would make a difference.

However, the biggest stick is held by the courts, and draconian sentencing should be applied for serious acts of football hooliganism (or should that read serious acts of violence). For that the government has some direct influence with the courts.

Spangly Princess said...

but TrentToffee, how are skint clubs supposed to buy their stadia? what about all the other sports which take place in them? who is going to recompnese the municipalities for the loss of this facility?

If you sell off the stadia to the clubs, councils have to cough up to build new facilities for all other sports. If you force the culbs to continue hosting all those other sports, they end up shelling out for expenses they haven't incurred. Not an easy issue to fix.

I agree it would make more sense but it's a tricky issue.

TrentToffee said...

...oh it wouldn't be easy that's for sure. It would take years to implement and I don't even pretend to know how you'd go about it. It would mean local government and big government having to be pretty bloody magnanimous and sell the stadiums at bottom dollar. And if many of them are in the state disrepair described then so they should. It may also involve grants/tax breaks in order to bring them up to scratch. I'm one of those strange people who actually believe in ground sharing (I think you get better stadiums as result) and think that idea should be encouraged with its own incentives.