Napoli to donate match funds to quake victims

ROME (AFP) — Serie A club Napoli will donate the proceeds from their next home match against Atalanta on Saturday to the victims of the L'Aquila earthquake.

Catania and Siena followed up that announcement by saying they would do likewise following their next home matches on April 19 against Sampdoria and Chievo respectively.

The latest death toll stands at 179 people while thousands have been left homeless after their houses collapsed during the earthquake in the Abruzzo region which struck in the early hours of Monday morning and measured 6.2 on the Richter scale.

"President Aurelio De Laurentiis, who has been profoundly touched by the human tragedy, has decided, as an act of solidarity, to give the takings from the Napoli-Atalanta match to the families of victims of the earthquake in Abruzzo," said a brief statement from Napoli.

The Italian Football Federation (Figc) announced that all players in the top two divisions would wear black armbands and observe a minute's silence during this weekend's matches.

They also called off all amateur football in the Abruzzo region this week and suspended the tour of the World Cup trophy, which was due to arrive soon in Abruzzo.

"This is a tragedy that has hit the whole country. The football world is a popular one which must bow it's head as a mark of respect," said Figc president Giancarlo Abete.

"We share the pain of the families of the victims, Italian football won't fail to show its solidarity with the population affected by this tragedy."

A minute's silence will be observed and black armbands worn for Udinese's UEFA Cup clash against Werder Bremen on Thursday as well.

Serie A team Fiorentina, who have an official supporters' club in L'Aquila, have also vowed to help those affected by the earthquake.

Their defender Luciano Zauri said he would organise some kind of benefit for the victims but said he needed more time to iron out the details before giving away any more than that.