Tuesday, 13 November 2007

condolences

The funeral of Gabriele Sandri is tomorrow, and today his body has been lying in state in rooms provided for the purpose by the City Council of Rome, in Piazza Campitelli - a stone's throw from the town hall and from Piazza Campidoglio and the Vittoriano, right in the heart of the City. Even before the rooms were opened, crowds had gathered outside, queuing to file past the coffin containing Sandri's body, which arrived overnight from Arezzo once the autopsy was completed.

Sandri's brother parents and grandparents were present, along with friends, colleagues and fellow fans. Other visitors to the vigil have included many of the Lazio first team, their manager Delio Rossi and other club officials; Minister for Sport Giovanna Melandri and the leader of Alleanza Nazionale Gianfranco Fini; representatives from the council, mayor of the city Walter Veltroni and the deputy mayor, religious deputations including the head of the Jewish Community in Rome, media representatives. Also Giancarlo Abete, head of the FA, who gave the family an Italy shirt signed by all the national side, accompanied by Demetrio Albertini, representing the side. And many ordinary fans and members of the public turned up, often wearing Lazio or Roma scarves, to pay their respects. Just as at the service station there are piles not only of floral tributes but of scarves and club colours, and especially the scarves of ultra groups from all over the country, there were plenty of team-related tributes left around the square. One man took in a simple pair of flowers, one red and one yellow, to leave by the coffin.

The funeral is at 12pm tomorrow and the priest has appealed for calm. Meanwhile 'city-wide mourning' has been declared for tomorrow from 12-14h, whatever that may mean.

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