Under Lock and Key

Florence stadium closed until safety standards are met

Editorial Staff
February 22, 2007

Soccer fans all over Italy are still feeling the after effects of the riots that ensued after a soccer match in Catania, Sicily a few weeks ago. Chaos broke out after a group of enraged hooligans ravaged through the streets of Catania, assaulting police and causing considerable damage to the city. The rioting ended with the tragic death of a police officer, Filippo Raciti, at the hands of hooligans. Consequently, Italian authorities suspended all Italian Championship League matches for about one week. Emergency meetings ensued between soccer clubs and governmental officials on how to respond to the shockingly violent behaviour displayed by the Catanese hooligans.

 

In the end, governmental officials agreed to reinstate national soccer matches, but with a doors-closed policy for stadiums that are not currently in line with the security measures established by the Pisanu Decree. The Pisanu Decree was passed by the Berlusconi government and was intended to set high security standards at stadiums in an effort to curb the long series of violent acts by enraged fans before, during and after matches. Unfortunately,  while the Fiorentina team was allowed to continue playing, the stadium would be empty due to its non-compliance with the decree. Thus the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence has been indefinitely closed to the public. Needless to say, Fiorentina fans are still reeling from the decision. Sports councilman, Eugenio Giani, has reassured fans that construction is already under way to bring the stadium up to standards, adding that the Franchi Stadium would open its doors in the spring. Fans are hopeful that the stadium will start to host season ticket holders on March 10 for the match against Empoli. The opening date for the general public has yet to be confirmed. According to the decree, all stadiums must be equipped with fixed barriers leading to the various entrances and security doors  and a series of steel fences are to surround the building.

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