Football: Uefa set to probe brawl in Bologna

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The Independent Online
MARSEILLES, STRIPPED of the European Cup in 1993 after a match- fixing scandal, and Bologna are likely to face an inquiry by European football's governing body after their Uefa Cup semi-final second leg in Italy on Tuesday night ended in a brawl involving players and stewards.

Uefa will wait until it has received reports from officials before considering what action it should take. A Uefa spokesman said: "We are waiting for reports from the observer, delegates and the referee. On those reports, the disciplinary commission will make their decision. It is difficult to speculate on the punishment without the reports. We need to dissect the reports before we can make any decision.

"The committee will meet on 29 April when they will deal with all the cases."

The brawl followed a fraught finale to the match. After a goalless first leg in France, Bologna were leading 1-0 until Marseilles converted a controversial penalty four minutes from time to draw and go through on away goals. Bologna's goalkeeper, Francesco Antonioli, pulled down the striker Florian Maurice in the penalty area just as the Italians seemed destined to reach the first European final in their 90-year history.

Marseilles' captain, Laurent Blanc, scored from the spot but had to take the kick again because of players encroaching into the area before he struck the ball. Blanc kept his nerve to fire his second shot into the bottom left-hand corner of Antonioli's net. Bologna's Giancarlo Marocchi was then sent off two minutes later for a crude challenge on the striker Titi Camara.

After the final whistle, the French players appeared to taunt the home fans in response to having fire-crackers and oranges thrown in their direction as the teams made their way to the dressing-room.

A Bologna player, thought to be the defender Amadeo Mangone, then swung a punch which triggered a scrap involving six or seven players. These included Marseilles' Christophe Dugarry, Bologna's captain and goalscorer Michele Paramatti and the Bologna substitutes, Massimiliano Cappioli and Giampiero Maini.

Bologna club officials allege that Stephane Courbis, the son of Marseilles' coach, Rolland Courbis, and a member of the board of the French club, punched Maini and left him with a badly swollen eye. Some newspapers reported Maini had suffered a fractured cheek bone.

A Japanese photographer was caught up in the fracas and had to be taken away on a stretcher for medical treatment.

French stewards, who spent the match at the opposite end of the ground keeping an eye on around 2,000 travelling Marseilles fans, then ran the length of the pitch in an attempt to break up the fight. Italian riot police carrying batons were also sucked in. After three minutes of chaos in which around 40 people crowded around the tunnel entrance, some throwing punches and some acting as peace-makers, calm was restored.

The bad blood between the two sides was evident at the post-match news conferences. As Paramatti made his way in to the media room, he passed Courbis Snr and accused the French side of being ungracious winners. "And you're not intelligent enough to know how to accept defeat," retorted Courbis as he walked out.

Bologna's coach, Carlo Mazzone, refused to discuss the fracas, asking simply: "Do you want to talk about bullshit or do you want to discuss the match?"

In the final, on 12 May in Moscow, Marseilles will play another Italian side, Parma, who beat Atletico Madrid in the other semi-final.

Fabrizio Ravanelli, Marseilles' former Middlesbrough striker, will miss the final after collecting his second booking on Tuesday night.