Friday, August 31, 2007

Champions League draw: United complacent over fan safety?

The Champions League draw took place on Thursday and United are in what looks to be a very tough group F. Celtic (D) and Rangers (E) have been pitched against AC Milan and Barcelona respectively in what will no doubt be described as the groups of death. The other English clubs have relavitely easy looking passages to the knockout stages.

The Reds have been drawn against AS Roma, Sporting Lisbon and Dynamo Kiev.

So United fans will have to endure another trip to the eternal city where last season supporters were attacked before and during the game by both the police and home supporters. United's CEO David Gill appeared to be somewhat complacement about the rematch stating that we wouldn't see a repeat of the bloody scenes.

However, Italian football expert Gabriel Marcotti talking on BBC Five Live on Thursday stated that he has concerns over the Rome police, in particular the chief of police who he says 'isn't a very nice man'.

Apparently Roma are the only Italian club who have not banned knives. Many fans will be flabbergasted if this claim is true. United fans were searched thoroughly on entering the Stadio Olimpico, but the home supporters did not get searched at all, this led to the Italian's raining all manner of missiles onto the visiting fans.

UEFA fined both United and Roma for the troubles of last season, but more needs to be done to guarantee the safety of visiting fans. United's travelling supporters will be hoping that Gill's apparent complacency isn't misplaced and they will be keen to know what exactly United and Roma have done to ensure that we see no repeat of the ugly scenes this coming December in the Stadio Olimpico.

Regarding matters on the field of play, Ronaldo and Nani will no doubt be keen to renew acquaintances with Sporting Lisbon and Reds fans will no doubt be busily looking for cheap flights for the trip Kiev in November over the next few days.

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