Birmingham may sue Ancona men

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The Independent Online
Birmingham City yesterday said they may take legal action against the Ancona coach, Massimo Cacciatori, and several of his players following Wednesday's brawl at the Anglo-Italian Cup tie between the two clubs.

The Blues' coach, David Howell, the captain Liam Daish and defender Michael Johnson are under investigation by Italian police after being named by their opponents as the culprits in the violence. If charged and found guilty, they face jail terms of up to three years. The Football League has launched its own inquiry.

Birmingham's owner, David Sullivan, said: "We will oppose extradition, if it comes to that. They assaulted our players in the first case on the pitch." Cacciatori and the Wrexham referee, John Lloyd, were both taken to hospital after the brawl, which occurred after the match.

In a statement released yesterday, Birmingham claim that Cacciatori received his injuries when he fell and hit his face on the ground after being pushed away by Daish, who "feared for his life" when the coach attacked him on the way to the dressing-rooms after the match.

"It is our intention to consider our position before deciding to take action against Cacciatori and against Ancona players," say Birmingham, who insist none of their players retaliated, despite being spat upon, elbowed, punched and kicked by their opponents. Cacciatori is alleged to have ran on to the pitch several times to join in the scuffles.

"We are horrified that the good reputation of Birmingham City and our players is being damaged by the most outrageous comments sent out from Italy," the statement concludes. Ancona may decide not to play their next Anglo-Italian tie, at Luton on 13 December.