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Italy Approves Only Six Soccer Stadiums for Public Attendance


Italian security and sports officials have decided that only six stadiums in the country meet security standards and that professional soccer games at stadiums considered unsafe will not be open to the public. Sabina Castelfranco reports from Rome

One week after a police officer was killed in riots, which broke out at a soccer game in Sicily, Italian authorities have decided play will resume this weekend. But the conditions and the atmosphere will be very different.

Many of the matches will be played behind closed doors.

New measures were quickly approved at an extraordinary cabinet meeting Wednesday in Rome, including a ban on spectators at professional matches played in unsafe stadiums.

Only six stadiums in the country meet the required security standards. Rome's Olympic Stadium was among those that passed the security test, but not Milan's San Siro stadium.

AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani expressed his displeasure. He said officials have been restructuring the stadium to conform security measures for some time.

"We have invested as much as possible and believe it is profoundly unfair to close a stadium where those that operate it have done everything according to the law," he said.

He added he has nothing against the new measures, but said the decision was made too quickly.

Other presidents of teams that use stadiums deemed unsafe, also expressed disappointment saying you can not have a game with no fans because it is just not the same.

Authorities have also banned night matches. The new safety requirements at stadiums include having closed-circuit surveillance cameras and turnstiles at the entrances. Many of the stadiums are not equipped with these.

Meanwhile, more than 40 people have been arrested, including 15 minors, following Friday's violence at Catania's stadium, where the local team was playing rival Palermo. Police said investigators are holding and questioning a 17-year-old suspect for the murder of the police officer.

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