Genoa gets 2-match home stadium ban after protests

Genoa was banned from playing at home for its final two home

matches this season following a protest-filled 4-1 loss to

Siena.

The league announced the decision a day after Sunday’s match

with Siena was suspended for about 45 minutes early in the second

half, when Genoa fans threw flares onto the pitch and climbed atop

barriers as they were faced by stewards in riot gear.

With their side trailing 4-0, players tried to appease the

hard-core ”ultra” fans by removing their shirts to acknowledge

they weren’t worthy of wearing them.

Also, police identified three fans who were involved and banned

them from sport events for five years, according to the ANSA news

agency.

It was the latest in a long list of crowd trouble incidents at

Serie A matches, and Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni

Petrucci declared Monday that the situation is ”beyond the point

of no return.”

Genoa only has two home games remaining this season – vs.

Cagliari on May 2 and vs. Palermo on May 13.

The loss left Genoa one point above the relegation zone, and

resulted in coach Alberto Malesani being fired for the second time

this season.

”It’s not enough to ban the stadium, we need to stop these

delinquents that are damaging football and Genoa,” Serie A

president Maurizio Beretta said.

Italian football federation president Giancarlo Abete said the

players shouldn’t have given in to the fans’ demands, but Genoa

president Enrico Preziosi said taking off the shirts ”made good

sense, to prevent something worse from happening.

”They were throwing fireworks and small bombs onto the pitch,”

Preziosi added. ”These 60-70 people are not fans, they’re just

organized delinquents.”

An Italy-Serbia match in the same stadium last season was

stopped in similar circumstances – albeit with Serbian fans causing

the violence. There were also massive clashes following the

shooting of a Lazio fan by a police officer at a highway rest stop

in 2007. And the hard-core ”ultra” fans forced the 2004 Rome

derby to be suspended after a false rumor spread that a boy had

been shot by police outside the stadium.

The latest protests came just a week after all Italian matches

were canceled following the death of Piermario Morosini in a Serie

B game due to cardiac arrest.

”I’m not sure people realize what is happening to part of the

football world,” Petrucci said. ”A week ago we had a drama and

there was dedication to (improve), but yesterday it seemed like

nothing had happened at all. We showed how you can ruin the best

show in the world.

”Whoever can intervene needs to, and CONI is leading the

list,” Petrucci added. ”I just hope that starting tomorrow we

don’t go back to just talking about matches with nobody admitting

that we should be ashamed of ourselves.”