Soccer-Italy officials meet over shooting and riots

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

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

At least 40 police were injured in Rome alone, officials said.

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.

Italy play in Scotland in a crunch Euro 2008 qualifier on Saturday, meaning there is no top-flight action next weekend, although sports minister Giovanna Melandri has called for lower league action to be suspended for one week.

Police said the fatal shooting of Gabriele Sandri, 26, was accidental and are set to hold talks with the government to clear up how the officer made such a ''tragic error''.

The unnamed officer said he could not believe he had hit the victim after encountering a disturbance between fans of Rome club Lazio and Turin-based Juventus at a motorway service station in the Tuscan city of Arezzo.

''I didn't point it at anything, I didn't aim at anybody,'' he told Corriere della Sera. ''The first shot I fired into the air and the second left me while I was running. Now I have destroyed two families, the man's and mine.'' Italy has a well-known hooligan problem and the authorities are desperate to avoid a repeat of Sunday's 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.

MEASURED RESPONSE Italian soccer federation (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete said in the statement that he had convened a meeting for later on Monday with his board as well as representatives of the league, and player and coach associations.

They will also discuss what to do about the Inter Milan v Lazio and AS Roma v Cagliari matches, which were postponed on Sunday 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 percent from last season but Abete has often said that soccer authorities can do little to stamp out trouble away from stadiums, such as in Arezzo.

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 from February's death and that the response should be measured.

However, Sandri's father posted a nessage in his shop window saying: ''Yesterday a dirty bastard killed my son, may he be damned forever.'' Reutrs RAR DB1850

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