Football: Gazza held by police

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The Independent Online
PAUL GASCOIGNE'S unhappy stay in Italy worsened yesterday, on the eve of his mentor's appointment as England manager. Gascoigne, who thrived under Terry Venables at Tottenham before moving to Lazio, was taken to a Rome police station for questioning after allegedly injuring a cameraman who tried to photograph him and his girlfriend, writes Patricia Clough from Rome.

The photographer, Lino Nanni, was given first aid at a nearby hospital for a bruise on his forehead. A second photographer, Nicola Amoroso of Il Tempo newspaper, was hit by Gascoigne's companion in the face with a handbag as they entered the police station, colleagues on the newspaper said.

Gascoigne and his girlfriend were strolling in the Piazza di Spagna when Nanni, who works for a photo-agency, photographed them several times and followed them into a shop. In the ensuing row Gascoigne allegedly head-butted the photographer. Police, who are permanently stationed in the busy square, were called in while a large crowd gathered.

Gascoigne had his personal details taken by police and was allowed to leave without charge after about 30 minutes.

Nanni, 53, emerged from the police station with two gauze bandages over cuts on his forehead. 'He hit me, I didn't hit him,' Nanni said.

'He came out (of the store), told me to wait and then went back inside. Then he came rushing back out. He was agitated. I think he was cursing in English. He tried to take the camera. I said, 'Stay calm'. He tried to kick me, then he swung a punch.' Nanni, or the police themselves, have 90 days to file charges against Gascoigne.