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Genoa bans Milan fans from Sunday match

By Wed Editor. Filed under Sportson August 23rd, 2007

AC Milan fans will be banned from attending Sunday’s Serie A opener against Genoa in a bid to prevent possible violence between supporters of the two sides, city officials said on Wednesday.

City Prefect Giuseppe Romano and the committee for public order and security feared hard-core Genoa fans were were still seeking revenge for the killing of a supporter at a match between the two teams years ago.

Genoa fan Vincenzo Spagnolo was stabbed to death by an AC Milan supporter in the area of Genoa’s Marassi Stadium in January 1995.

“Unfortunately, though 12 years have gone by we’re picking up disturbing signals and messages being sent out by some die-hard fans,” said Romano, stressing that Internet was one of the channels.

“Having to take this decision was a defeat for us…but we were forced to choose between the lesser of two evils,” said Romano, explaining why 2080 Milan supporters would not be allowed at the Ferraris stadium.

“The recollection of that 1995 killing is still strong among some (Genoa) fans,” the prefect said.

Police fear that hard-core Milan fans would nevertheless head to Genoa on Sunday, in a show of bravado against the vendetta challenge launched by some Genoa supporters.

The decision has upset Milan fans as well as some of the players, who lament that the team will have to play without supporters.

“It’s really sad to play without support and it’s even more painful when you read reports that (former Fiorentina striker) Luca Toni says he hears rounds of applause for him as well as (German team) Bayern from rival fans. Unfortunately, the mentality in Italy is completely different. Sunday’s match is obviously delicate but it’s still sad that we’ve had to come to this,” said Milan forward Christian Brocchi.

Genoa, one of the Italy’s best-supported teams, is back in the top flight after a 12-year absence.

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