Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What really happened in Rome and what needs to happen in future.....

I have received some information from a very good and reliable source about last weeks troubles in Rome when United fans were on the wrong end of a beating from the local riot police and the cowardly knife wielding Ultras.

The following has come from an eyewitness who was there.

"During the day United fans had congregated around the Termini railway station - there are plenty of little bars/restaurants around here. Some United fans, to their eternal credit, did go on organised tours of the city and the Vatican.

All was quite peaceful until nearer the time of the game. Towards the stadium, Roma fans on small motorbikes/mopeds raced past groups of Red's and slashed them. This was done using a blade taped to the end of a small cane and they simply swiped Red's as they rode past. After a while, United fans started to kick out at anyone riding these sewing machines on wheels. A few Roma fans got a good shoeing, many ran off leaving their bikes to be smashed up by irate Mancs.

However, the fun and games started in earnest at the stadium. The "Ultras" were out in force, dressing in body armour and crash helmets. They were also heavily tooled up - knives, blades - even machetes. The riot police did NOTHING. A couple of charges by the Ultras into the United fans left some Red's seriously injured. Many have scars on their forearms - slashed whilst protecting themselves. The riot police did NOTHING.

United fans, desperately trying to enter the stadium to avoid more injury were then set upon by the riot police. Tear gas and rubber bullets were fired indiscriminately into the Red's.

Inside the stadium, United were herded, searched, thrashed and pushed around by the police. All the way through the game Roma fans pelted them with coins, huge batteries (not AAA ones either) fireworks and nuts and bolts fired from catapults. Presumably the police don't bother searching the Ultras.

When Roma scored, the bombardment intensified to which a few dozen Red's stormed the plastic barricade, gesticulating at the Roma fans. You've seen the Riot polices reaction - no more words necessary"...The End.

Now then, we've all heard the Italian Chief of the police telling anyone who'd listen that the United fans tried to rush into the stadium, now we know why... His riot cops stood by and watched the Roma fans wading into the United fans using knives and Lord knows what else.

Having spoken at length to the same person who passed on this information, he says that he believes that there needs to be a complete change of attitude from the Italian police. Apparently the riot cops do not even venture into the sections that are frequented by the Ultras, for fear of 'upsetting them'...

The Italian police also do not search the Ultras, that much has been made clear by several witnesses who've spoken out about what happened, the report above adds more meat on the bones of the story. And how can the Italian riot police stand by and allow these Ultras to attack fans and do nothing?

The Italian Riot police seem to turn a blind eye towards the Ultras but are quite happy to thrash visiting fans. No wonder UEFA are now calling for changes in European policing. It seems these self styled corwards the Ultras are a law unto themsevles. Let's hope that it doesn't take the death of a visiting fan to make UEFA insist upon the changes required.

UEFA wants cops in Europe to follow the lead of English policing, which might not be perfect
but it's a whole lot better than in Italy

Footnote: In separate and as of yet unconfirmed report, United's own security staff found a bag of knives outside Old Trafford yesterday. It's open to speculation how they got there...

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