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Security Tightened Around Rome for UEFA Champions League Final


Thousands of soccer fans are pouring into the Italian capital for Wednesday's UEFA Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona. Heavy security measures are in place and fans will have to show photo identification along with their ticket to get into the stadium.

Italian authorities want no trouble at the UEFA Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona, to be played Wednesday evening, at Rome's Olympic Stadium. And, to ensure that, a huge security operation has been put in place.

Massimo Zanni of Rome's police department, says, there will be thousands of police officers in the streets. If there are hooligans, they will be given the attention they deserve.

Thousands of fans have been pouring into Rome. 67,000 people are expected to attend the game. Of these 50,000 are British and Spaniards.

Violence has plagued visits to the Italian capital by English teams over the last decade. In 2007, several United fans were hospitalized with stab wounds and up to 18 were injured inside the Olympic Stadium after clashes with riot police.
The worry for Italian authorities is that the thousands of Manchester United fans could travel to the game without tickets, putting themselves at risk of attack as they scour the streets of the city trying to buy them.

This British photographer is optimistic there will be no trouble.

"I think it will be a great fight, gladiator fight on the pitch, but not on the streets," the photographer said.

Those who have managed to get hold of tickets have no doubts it will be an unforgettable match, like this Spanish fan who has high hopes his team will win.

He says, "I think it will be a great game. Both teams are strong. Let Barcelona be the winner."

Authorities are taking no chances. Although they have announced there will be no red zone, an alcohol ban will come into force starting Tuesday in the center of Rome and the area surrounding the stadium.

Italians law enforcement officials are being deployed at the airport, subway stations and across the city. In addition to the Italians, British and Spanish police officers will be on patrol in uniform and undercover.

Police have already seized fake tickets. To enter the stadium, supporters will have to show both their identification and their ticket - which must be read by electronic machines at the stadium's gates. It's the first time a Champions League final has employed this system.

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