Two Roma fans charged over Spurs supporters knife attack in Rome

 

Two men have been charged with attempted murder after English football fans were attacked in Rome, police said today.

Officers said two Roma fans - Francesco Ianari and Mauro Pinnelli, both 26 - were charged after Tottenham Hotspur fan Ashley Mills suffered knife wounds to his head and leg during an ambush at the Drunken Ship pub in Campo de Fiori while he and fellow supporters enjoyed a drink in the Eternal City at 1am yesterday.

A police spokeswoman said: "They have been charged with attempted murder for involvement in riots and causing serious injury with a knife and are due to appear in court soon."

Mr Mills was recovering in hospital today after up to 50 Italian thugs stormed the pub armed with knives, baseball bats, knuckle-dusters and broken bottles.

The 25-year-old, of Hutton, Essex, was hurt along with at least 10 other Spurs fans who were targeted in what was believed to have been an anti-semitic attack.

It has been reported that yob fans of Lazio - known as Ultras - renowned hooligans - launched the attack while shouting abuse about the Spurs supporters' historical Jewish links.

During the Europa league tie last night Lazio fans chanted "Juden Tottenham" - using the German word for Jew, and also unfurled a "Free Palestine" banner.

The chanting came from the Curva Nord, where the Lazio Ultras sit.

The club denied its fans were involved in the terrifying attacks which saw innocent Spurs fans and bystanders scrambling for cover.

Before the game, club president Claudio Lotito said: "Lazio fans had nothing to do with what happened in Campo de Fiori.

"When it emerges who was really responsible, some people will be surprised.

"It is all too easy to speak about aggression from people whose faces are covered and say that they are Lazio fans."

Uefa, which represents Europe's national football associations, is expected to decide today if Lazio should answer for its alleged anti-semitism, after the chanting.

Yesterday morning's bloodshed only ended when teams of Carabinieri descended on the popular square after calls for back-up from local police.

Arrests were made and police continue to assess evidence as well as examine suspects' backgrounds for any possible previous association with football violence.

Italian teams have a well-documented problem with football hooliganism.

Stabbings at games, both domestic and European, are no surprise.

The thugs have their own modus operandi: stabbing victims in the buttocks.

Experts say the attack is chosen because it is humiliating but usually not life-threatening, and because it also has links to medieval duelling when slashing an opponent's buttocks was considered the most skilful move.

Football theorists believe Italy's fascist Ultras have wanted to identify themselves with English football hooligans of the 1980s when a skinhead, right-wing element regularly disgraced the game.

It is also not unknown for sets of fans from different clubs, who share a similar philosophy, to unite and launch joint attacks.

Roma also has fascist elements and has been responsible for brutal attacks on international fans.

In 2001 Liverpool FC fans were stabbed by Roma thugs as they arrived at the city's Olympic Stadium for a Uefa Cup game.

In 2007 a group of Manchester United fans were treated in hospital after Roma Ultras also launched an attack.

PA

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