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Sunday, March 27, 2005

San Siro trouble 'worst in 20 years'

Scottish Football Association chief executive David Taylor described the violent scenes on the terraces during the 2-0 defeat in Italy as the worst he had witnessed in 20 years.
Rival fans from Inter Milan and Verona clashed at the San Siro Stadium in the section directly below the Tartan Army.

Baton-wielding riot police eventually dispersed the two sets of supporters, who were armed with sticks and chains.

Taylor was grateful that the 10,000 travelling fans had not been caught up in the brief but brutal battle which was played out behind a goal during the second period of the World Cup qualifier in Milan.

He said: 'Those scenes were incredible. I have not seen scenes like that in football grounds for 20 years. It was one set of Italian fans against another set of Italian fans - almost pre-planned we understand.

'It was fans from Verona against some fans from Inter Milan. The Veronese arrived late and were under attack, with the police responding with riot shields and goodness knows what else.

'I'm just glad the Scottish fans couldn't see what was happening. They might have heard the noise but they couldn't see it like the rest of us. It was something you really don't want to see in a football ground.'

The San Siro is no stranger to fans' misbehaviour as Wales supporters will testify after being pelted with missiles during a Euro 2004 qualifier.

But Taylor, who is a member of the UEFA disciplinary committee, has revealed that the wheels were already in motion for action against the Italian authorities for failure to control their fans.

He added: 'Certainly there will be a report from the delegate, who I know very well. These are matters that will have to be reported. But, and the delegate confirmed this, it was absolutely nothing to do with the Scottish fans.

'This was two sets of Italian fans deciding that this was a location and occasion where they could confront each other. We just happened to be there at the time.

'It is also a reminder that, in Scottish football, we don't have that any longer. Football authorities, FIFA and UEFA really do have to make sure stadium security is the best it can be.

'I don't know quite why it happened, but really it shouldn't have.'

The hardcore of Verona fans who are known as the `Yellow and Blue Brigade' but call themselves `The Kids' and have a reputation for right-wing leanings.

But, in contrast, there was not a single arrest among the travelling Scots, who continued to sing loudly in the famous stadium after the game had finished.

And the SFA chief lauded the fans for their continued support, despite the poor form endured in the reign of Berti Vogts.

Taylor said: 'The Tartan Army are fantastic. It is not so much what I think, but it is the impression they make on other countries.

'Our national team's fortunes on the pitch might be at a low ebb, but, when the Italians saw the numbers and the way the supporters behaved, they were just knocked over.

'We have got the best supporters in Europe and very much appreciate what they do. They are helping us through these difficult times. We know that results are not great, but there are signs of promise and, hopefully, we will come back. They are pulling us through this.

'In the way they behave and the numbers they turn up in is terrific.'

The square outside the famous Duomo Cathedral became a Tartan Army parade-ground days before kick-off and Taylor himself had been a member before taking up his current Hampden Park post.

With the previous disappointments on the pitch in mind, he said: 'It is worth coming to even without the football.

'Sometimes, you feel that, unfortunately, there is a football game afterwards. But it is a great experience and, for those who haven't done it, you have got to experience it to know what is so special about the Tartan Army.'

Mourinho & Cassano!!
45,797 Posts
Whatever its just a small set of fans and as far as I'm concerned they can take teh first ticket out of Milan to Real like R9. Go to hell

251 Posts
This is the reason why italy never seems to have that many vocal fans at international tournaments, because when ultras from rival clubs are in the same place at the same time there is sure to be violence. These groups need to put there club interests behind them for the good of supporting the Azzurri, i mean look at scotland, i,m sure there would of been rival celtic and rangers supporters in the travelling group, but they all sing for the national team.
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