Rome Derby 2013: Fans Reportedly Stabbed Before AS Roma vs. Lazio Match
Chaos erupted before a heated rivalry match between AS Roma and Lazio in Italy. At least two fans were injured and an emergency vehicle was attacked during a clash of supporters prior to the latest Rome derby, according to the Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports):
The ANSA news agency reports an ambulance was abandoned after fireworks, rocks and sticks were thrown at it Monday.
After hearing of the news, Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno made an appeal for calm ahead of the match Monday night.
Matches between the two Rome-based clubs are among the most intense in Europe. The AP report states security was increased following the stabbing incident, and local businesses decided to close up shop before any more outbreaks of violence occurred.
Lazio and Roma are in close competition in the Serie A table, sitting in sixth and seventh place respectively. Both clubs are within striking distance of earning a European spot for next season, which helps explain the added tension ahead of today's clash.
It's the second act of violence ahead of a major football match in Rome in as many years. Premier League side Tottenham had 10 supporters suffer injuries in an attack before a Europa League encounter with Lazio, according to Reuters (via The Guardian).
There was also an incident in 2004 when supporters from both sides clashed with police after a match involving the two sides was postponed shortly after the second half began. A story on the confusion during that match from CNN also alluded to incidents before the match.
Violence associated with football isn't uncommon, as each of those situations illustrate. The good news is that it appears police were able to get today's situation under control relatively quickly, at least before the disorder led to even more injuries.
No further information was provided on the condition of the fans stabbed in today's attack.
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