Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Inter ‘ultras’ leader arrested for death of fan in clashes

1 Comment

MILAN (AP) Police have arrested a leader of Inter Milan’s hardcore “ultras” fan group following the death of a supporter during clashes with visiting Napoli fans last week.

The ANSA news agency reports that Marco Piovella, the arrested fan, is being charged with homicide.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 0-2 Man Utd ]

Investigators believe that Daniele Belardinelli, the 35-year-old fan who died, may have been fatally struck by a van or SUV during the clashes outside the San Siro stadium.

Investigators believe that the Inter fans instigated the clashes with a pre-planned assault on a large group of Napoli’s hardcore ultras, who avoided police detection by arriving in mini-vans.

At least four Napoli fans were injured in the clashes – where bars, knives and other weapons were reportedly used – and three Inter supporters were previously arrested.

The Dec. 26 match was also marred by racist chants aimed at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Inter has been ordered to play its next two home matches in an empty stadium, plus a third home game with a partial closure of the San Siro.

Inter fans were also barred from traveling to a match at Empoli last Saturday.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Leader of Inter Milan ultras arrested for death of fan in clashes

Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MILAN (AP) Police have arrested a leader of Inter Milan’s hardcore “ultras” fan group following the death of a supporter during clashes with visiting Napoli fans last week.

The ANSA news agency reports that Marco Piovella, the arrested fan, is being charged with homicide.

Investigators believe that Daniele Belardinelli, the 35-year-old fan who died, may have been fatally struck by a van or SUV during the clashes outside the San Siro stadium.

Investigators believe that the Inter fans instigated the clashes with a pre-planned assault on a large group of Napoli’s hardcore ultras, who avoided police detection by arriving in mini-vans.

At least four Napoli fans were injured in the clashes – where bars, knives and other weapons were reportedly used – and three Inter supporters were previously arrested.

The Dec. 26 match was also marred by racist chants aimed at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Inter has been ordered to play its next two home matches in an empty stadium, plus a third home game with a partial closure of the San Siro.

Inter fans were also barred from traveling to a match at Empoli last Saturday.

Arsenal facing depth problems as Ramsey weighs giant offers

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Will Arsenal regret its player prioritization when it comes to Aaron Ramsey?

The Gunners are likely to lose the 28-year-old Welsh midfielder for nothing, and soon, as Ramsey is reportedly talking with five of the biggest clubs in Europe.

[ REPORT: Barca agrees with De Jong ]

The BBC says Ramsey has not agreed with Juventus, as had been reported, and that Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Juve, Paris St-Germain and Real Madrid are all in the mix.

Ramsey reunited with Gareth Bale? Go on…

The midfielder has made 352 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 60 goals, and has 52 caps with 14 goals for Wales.

The report says Ramsey would only be allowed to move in January for $51 million, and also has a lot of tough realities for Arsenal supporters. For one, the club reportedly thinks it cannot compete with the top sides this season (though we saw the Liverpool match, so it’s not like that’s a mind-blowing assertion).

Gunners owner Stan Kroenke will reportedly not sanction any big January deals and would risk breaching Financial Fair Play if he did, opting to look into loans like Barcelona’s Denis Suarez.

They also don’t want to recall Calum Chambers from loan at Fulham because it will take a fee, and they don’t want to “disrupt the progress” of Reiss Nelson at Hoffenheim.

Fifth-place Arsenal is just three points ahead of Manchester United, and is alive in the FA Cup and Europa League. Depth will be critical, but looks unlikely to improve next month.

UEFA chastises Serie A for handling of Koulibaly racist chants

Getty Images
1 Comment

UEFA has publicly denounced the in-game handling of racist chants directed at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly this week during a Serie A match between Napoli and Inter Milan at the San Siro.

Home Inter fans directed repeated racist chants towards Koulibaly, including monkey noises, despite multiple announcements over the stadium loudspeaker imploring the fans to stop. The UEFA report says that three announcements were made, and confirms that protocol was not followed, stating that the game should have been suspended.

“We are very concerned by this unacceptable racist incident and by what appears on the surface to be a failure to respect the widely-recognised three-step anti-racism protocol,” said UEFA in a joint statement with the players’ union FIFPro. “Koulibaly was subject to racist chanting and, despite announcements made by the stadium speaker, the chants did not stop. Moreover, it seems that Napoli’s coaching staff had already informed the referee several times of racist chants.”

As punishment for the chants, Inter was told it must play its next two home matches in a completely empty stadium.

Referee Paolo Mazzoleni eventually sent Koulibaly off for sarcastically applauding a decision, earning him a second yellow card. Koulibaly was given a two-match ban for his actions.

UEFA’s statement was made in the aftermath of Italian Football Federation chief Gabriele Gravina saying the referee followed protocol correctly, and claiming that Napoli pulling its players off the pitch would cause a “negative result” to be handed down. “Mazzoleni applied the rules perfectly,” Gravina told Sky Sports Italia after the game. “If players left the field then it would break the rules, followed by a negative result for their team. Let’s not forget that there are rules, which need to be improved. If not then it would be like the Wild West.”

Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti claimed after the match that he would pull his players off the field should this happen again, even if it resulted in forfeiture of the match. There are also reports that the Italian Federation is considering suspending Serie A after the actions at the San Siro. There was also pre-match violence which resulted in the the death of an Inter fan as well as a stabbing of four Napoli fans. The federation did announce, however, that Saturday’s fixtures would go on as planned.

Serie A announces two-game stadium ban to Inter for racist chanting

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Inter Milan have been handed a two-match home stadium ban, and will be without their ultras for a further game after some ultras chanted racist abuse to Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly on Wednesday.

Stunningly, along the with paltry ban, Koulibaly and his Napoli teammate Lorenzo Insigne both received two-match bans, adding insult to injury after Inter’s 1-0 win at the San Siro. Both teams can reportedly appeal the decision.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

The racist behavior of the Inter fans is the latest in a recent spree of African-descended or African-born players being abused during matches. It’s sparked a conversation among players, fans and the media and how to eliminate abusive behavior from the stands.

In response, Koulibaly, who was clearly shaken up during the match which may have led to his eventual red card, said in a post that he is proud of the color of his skin, proud to be French, Senegalese and a Neapolitan.