Soccer: Rome mayor condemns Spurs fans attack as 'thuggery'

Blood stains still in square

Soccer: Rome mayor condemns Spurs fans attack as 'thuggery'

(see related story) Rome, November 22 - Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno condemned the attack on fans of English side Tottenham Hotspur in a central Rome pub as thuggery on Thursday and called on police to find the culprits. "It is an episode of stadium thuggery transported to the centre of Rome," said Alemanno. "It's incredible that a group of 16 fans, thugs in reality, should move deliberately to go on a raid and attack fans of the opposing team. "I hope the police and investigators find those responsible, because what happened shows that a band of madmen and criminals is in action, hiding behind the support in our stadiums and this is unacceptable". The English fans were in Rome to see Tottenham take on Lazio in a Europa League match later on Thursday. Police have detained several Italians suspected of taking part in the raid, in which one Spurs fan was badly injured. Investigators are said to be focusing their attention on 15 hard-core 'ultra' fans and they have not ruled out the possibility that supporters of several teams, not just Lazio followers, were involved. There are extreme right-wing elements in Lazio's support, including some Fascist sympathisers. The head of the central Rome borough where the attack took place said the signs of it were still visible after dawn. "I spoke to the pub owner's assistant, who was on duty last night," said Orlando Corsetti. "A group of young men wearing helmets attacked the pub, first throwing rocks and breaking the windows and then starting the fight and stabbing the English tourists who are fans of Tottenham. "We don't know if the incident is linked to the match or if there are other reasons. "The pub is totally destroyed and there are still blood stains in the square". There have been several incidents of fans of foreign teams being attacked and stabbed before European soccer games in Rome in recent years. Three Middlesbrough supporters were stabbed during fights with AS Roma fans at the same pub as Thursday's attack before a UEFA Cup quarter-final in 2006. photo: Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno

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