Italy's FA apologizes over violent attack in Rome


This picture shows a view of the Drunken Ship pub at Campo di Fiori after a fight overnight between Lazio and Tottenham supporters on the eve of the Europa League football on November 22, 2012 in Rome. Some 10 supporters of Tottenham were injured after a group of masked Lazio "tifosi" (supporters) entered the pub and attacked the Tottenham supporters.



The president of Italy's Football Association has apologized on behalf of "the whole Italian football family" after a violent attack on Tottenham fans in a Rome bar on Thursday.

A gang bearing baseball bats and knives charged into the Drunken Ship pub in what officials have called a targeted and planned assault.

Ten fans of the English football club Tottenham Hotspurs, who were in Rome for a match against Lazio, were taken to hospital, reports the BBC. 

One Spurs fan who witnessed the attack told Yahoo! Sports that the attackers beat a group of around 30 people with planks of wood and knuckle dusters.

"We heard smashing glass, shouting and then smoke. I thought there was a fire but we realized they'd thrown gas in to the pub - that's why they had scarves over their faces," said the Spurs fan. "There were about 30 of them - they pushed through the pub and pinned us back into a corner. They grabbed anything they could and hit us with it."

Ashley Mills, 25, was stabbed in the leg and head and underwent surgery for a ruptured artery at Rome's San Camillo Hospital.

"They came out of nowhere. I didn't see the guy who stabbed me. There were too many of them," Mills told the Evening Standard.

"I was standing outside drinking and the next thing I knew there were loads of them," he said. "It happened very quickly, I don't remember much. I remember being pulled out, along the ground, after I had been stabbed."

The attack on Tottenham fans has raised fears about anti-Semitic sentiment in the Italian capital. 

The north London football team has a historical Jewish connection and witnesses told Italian media that the gang shouted "Jews, Jews" as they attacked the group inside the Campo de Fiori. 

Giancarlo Abete, president of Italy's FA said in a letter to his UK equivalent David Bernstein that it was another example of where football had "once again... given a handful of delinquents the excuse to take out their racist and anti-Semite anger."

"There is evidence of this undoubted motive, which is detrimental to the image of Italian football and doesn't match with the traditional hospitality and welcome of the city of Rome," he wrote. 

Israeli ambassador to Italy Naor Gilon told Reuters that the attack on Spurs supporters, stemmed from "a new trend of anti-Semitism in Europe".

The attackers were originally thought to be fans of Italy's Lazio football team but two Italian men arrested in connection with the stabbings are reportedly fans of rival club Roma. 

26-year-old Francesco Ianari and 27-year-old Mauro Pinnelli have been arrested and charged with attempted murder.