Italy's FA sorry after Rome attack on Tottenham fans

Bar staff said Spurs fans tried to take refuge from the assault, as the BBC's Matthew Morris reports

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The president of Italy's Football Association has apologised to the English FA chairman David Bernstein following an assault on Tottenham fans in a Rome bar on Thursday.

Giancarlo Abete said he was condemning on behalf of "the whole Italian football family" what he said was a "disgraceful" anti-Semitic attack.

Tottenham has traditionally had strong ties with London's Jewish community.

Ten Spurs fans in Rome for the match against Lazio were taken to hospital.

A fan injured in the attack in the bar in the Campo dei Fiori in central Rome is expected to remain in hospital for a fortnight after being stabbed in the thigh and suffering head injuries.

The man, named on social media as Ashley Mills, 25, from Brentwood, Essex, gave an interview to the Evening Standard newspaper in which he talked about the moment the bar was stormed by a mob of about 40 masked men.

"They came out of nowhere. I didn't see the guy who stabbed me. There were too many of them," he said.

Initially Lazio fans were thought to be to blame for the attack. But police say two Italian men who have been charged with attempted murder, were fans of the city's other Serie A team, AS Roma.

They have been named as 26-year-old Francesco Ianari and Mauro Pinnelli, 27.

TROUBLE IN ROME

  • 1984: Liverpool fans stabbed by Roma supporters after European Cup Final
  • 2001: Liverpool supporters stabbed in buttocks
  • 2006: Middlesbrough fans attacked, again involving buttock slashing
  • 2007: Manchester United fans face similar attacks on two separate occasions
  • 2009: Man Utd fans attacked again by locals
  • Nov 2012: Italian fans attack Spurs supporters

In a letter to Mr Bernstein, Mr Abete said it was another example of where football had "once again... given a handful of delinquents the excuse to take out their racist and anti-Semite anger.

He said: "There is evidence of this undoubted motive, which is detrimental to the image of Italian football and doesn't match with the traditional hospitality and welcome of the city of Rome."

Mr Abete added: "I beg you to send our apologies to all Tottenham's fans - and in particular to those families directly involved."

Tottenham's match with Lazio unfolded without any violence. But there was further controversy, with reports of anti-Semitic chanting by the home fans.

The European football authorities said they are waiting to hear from English FA officials before possibly taking action against Lazio.

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