Dangerous games

Roseanne Wells
February 8, 2007

In response to the disastrous and disheartening football match in Catania on February 2, Claudio Lotito, President of Lazio, remarked that security was the major weakness during games. The night match between Catania and Palermo sparked debate over who is responsible for insuring safety measures. Since most stadiums are currently owned by the city then rented out, police, not a private security force, are responsible for keeping exuberant fans in check for little overtime compensation. Lotito’s informal proposal, broadcast during the Italian TV program ‘Controcampo’, notes that ‘the clubs should own their stadiums in order to cater better for the security system’.

In addition to selling the stadiums to the individual squads, the city would no longer be responsible for the activities at the games. This would place the financial burden on the teams for the lack of updated security to control the huge numbers of rowdy spectators. But when fans sneak weapons, flares, firecrackers, and bombs into stadiums, can football still be considered game? Lotito remarks that the security ‘must also serve as a filter to diminish the access of the thugs to the stadium zone’, but the violence is not limited to the fans without tickets; the seating for ‘ultra’ fans is unapproachable by the current police force. Even with a full-time security team, will football matches become any safer? Let’s hope that something changes, so the fans actually have a game to go to.

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