The Roma striker Francesco Totti has avoided a ban in the Serie A title run-in after being let off with a fine for goading fans of relegation-threatened Lazio. Totti, whose side lead Serie A by one point with four games left, made a thumbs-down gesture to Lazio supporters after Roma's 2-1 comeback win in a heated city derby on Sunday.
The Italian league said in a statement yesterday that captain Totti had been fined €20,000 (£17,500) for the gesture, which provoked an angry response from the already combustible Lazio contingent on and off the field. The match has always been one of football's most violent derbies but critics have said the striker's actions further inflamed the situation, with several people arrested and one man seriously hurt in fighting after the game. The clubs were both fined €40,000 for trouble in the stands, where a steward was hit by a coin and police officers were slightly injured in scuffles.
Totti was so pumped up for the match that his coach, Claudio Ranieri, had to substitute him at half-time, saying the one-club man was too excited to contribute effectively.
Meanwhile, the latest hearing in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal has been postponed because of the travel chaos caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Chelsea's manager, Carlo Ancelotti, and others had been due to give evidence in Naples today, but a short hearing announced the trial has been adjourned until 27 April. Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has also been summoned to give evidence.
Ancelotti and Mancini, who were in charge of Milan and Internazionale respectively during the 2006 scandal, have been called as witnesses. Neither is accused of any wrongdoing. Juventus official Luciano Moggi has been accused of being the mastermind at the centre the scandal by influencing the appointments of referees, with telephone conversations recorded as a result of a criminal investigation by Naples prosecutors. The Turin club were stripped of the title and relegated.