Italian authorities to meet over violence after shooting

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MILAN, Nov 12 (Reuters) Italian soccer authorities are meeting on Monday to discuss measures aimed at tackling widespread fan violence sparked by the accidental shooting of a Lazio supporter by a police officer yesterday.

Riots hit Rome, with fans attacking a police barracks as well as the Olympic Stadium and the headquarters of the Italian Olympic Committee next door.

A top flight game between Atalanta and AC Milan was also abandoned after seven minutes when fans tried to break down a glass barrier keeping them from the pitch.

Police and the government are also set to hold talks to clear up how the officer made such a ''tragic error'' and to try to stem the violence, which mirrored riots outside a Catania match in Sicily in February, where a policeman was killed.

That incident led to strict new security measures at soccer stadiums but authorities may have to look again at the rules amid calls to ban away fans from all grounds in future.

''It is another very sad and painful day for all of Italian football,'' Italian soccer federation (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete said in a statement.

''The first thought is of huge condolences for the family of Gabriele Sandri.'' MEASURED RESPONSE Abete said in the statement that he had convened a meeting for later today with his board as well as representatives of the league, and player and coach associations.

They will discuss what to do about the Inter Milan v Lazio and AS Roma v Cagliari matches, which were postponed yesterday because of the shooting and whether to play the Atalanta game or award the points to Milan.

A report last month said injuries at stadiums caused by fan violence had dropped by 80 per cent from last season but Abete has consistently said that soccer authorities could do little to stamp out trouble away from the stadiums.

The clash between Lazio and Juventus fans which led to the accidental shooting happened at a motorway service station in the Tuscan city of Arezzo, far from any stadium.

The matter is complicated because Juve fans in particular live across Italy, not just in their base of Turin, meaning fans travel huge distances to see their team and often come across rival fans on routes not usually associated with soccer traffic.

Abete has also been at pains to point out that the shooting was very different form February's death and that the response should be measured.

''The loss of a life is always unacceptable but objectively the dynamics of the dramatic episode is totally different from the killing last February of inspector Raciti at Catania,'' he said.

The unnamed officer under investigation for firing the fatal shot told Italian paper Il Giornale that it seemed impossible that he had hit the victim as he tried to stop the disturbance.

''I am sure I fired into the air as a warning. I know what I did, I wanted to break up the altercation. I can't have hit him, I can't, I can't,'' he said.

REUTERS SSC RK1516

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