Officials plan strict security for Rome final

Click to follow

Fans attending the Champions League final in Rome will have to show a photo ID along with their ticket to get into the stadium as part of increased Italian security measures.

Rome is readying a massive security operation as it tries to silence critics who, fearing violence, campaigned to have club football's most prestigious event moved to another city. Violence has plagued recent Champions League matches involving local team AS Roma and English clubs.

The Olympic Stadium will accommodate some 67,000 fans during the final between Manchester United and Barcelona on Wednesday, while many more thousands are expected to flood Rome, some without a ticket.

Security officials said they have been monitoring ticket sales, together with the British and Spanish police and European football authorities, to prevent false copies, scalping and fans ending up in the wrong section of the stadium.

Each fan will have to show both an ID and a ticket - which is actually a card that must be read by electronic machines at the stadium's gates. If the name appearing on the machine display doesn't match the one on the ID, the person will be denied entry, said Roberto Massucci, director of the Interior Ministry's body in charge of public order for sporting events.

The name on the ticket can be changed up to 48 hours before the game, when the card must be activated, Massucci said today.

It is the first time that a Champions League final employs this system, which was tested on a sample of fans during the Italian Cup final at the Olympic Stadium earlier this month, said Massucci.

Officials declined to provide figures on the security forces involved, saying details were being worked out. Il Messaggero, a Rome newspaper, said at least 1,500 police forces would be employed.

A delegation of British and Spanish police — numbering 15 each — will arrive in the capital on Monday to coordinate with the Italians, Massucci said. Some will be in plainclothes and will mingle with the fans, the others will be scattered across the city.

An alcohol ban is expected to be in place in the hours before and after the game, which kicks off at 7.45pm (BST).

This week, the British government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office urged United fans to stay away from certain parts of the Italian capital to avoid mishaps with local troublemakers.

Mayor Gianni Alemanno has said the day of the final will be a "delicate" one but promised Rome would rise to the challenge.