Violence at Italian Soccer Match to Affect Security at Stadiums

ROME -- Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday that "drastic measures" may be needed to stem the rise of violence at Italian soccer stadiums.

Tuesday's Champions League second-leg quarterfinal between Inter Milan and AC Milan was cut short late in the second half after Inter fans threw flares onto the field at San Siro stadium, hitting Milan goalkeeper Dida.

"It is too bad for Milan as a city, not only for Inter fans but for Italian football in general," AC Milan spokesman Umberto Gandini said. "It's an ugly and sad night for football."

The scene followed one of the worst violence-marred weekends in Italian soccer this season, when scores of fans were arrested and 89 police officers injured in fighting at stadiums across the country.

Berlusconi, the owner of AC Milan, discussed the situation Wednesday with Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu.

"It is clear there is a risk of even more serious events, a risk that must be avoided through every means possible," Berlusconi's office said in a statement.

While authorities say they plan to focus on prevention, they "do not rule out, if necessary, resorting to more drastic measures."

The statement did not specify what kind of measures were being considered.

AC Milan was leading 1-0 in the second leg and 3-0 on aggregate when the trouble started Tuesday night. Inter fans threw flares and bottles onto the pitch after a goal by Esteban Cambiasso was disallowed for a foul in the 71st minute.

Dida was hit on the right shoulder by a flare in the 73rd minute and treated at midfield. Play was stopped and the teams left the field. They returned 10 minutes later and the match resumed. But fans started throwing flares again and referee Markus Merk stopped the match for good less than a minute later.

Gandini said Dida underwent tests and has a bruised shoulder.

UEFA will meet Friday to determine the final score and decide what punishment to impose on Inter.

Milan has qualified for the semifinals and will face either PSV Eindhoven or Lyon. But UEFA must still decide whether the second-leg result should stand at 1-0 or whether to award Milan a 3-0 victory - the standard for an abandoned match.

UEFA's disciplinary committee could order Inter to play one or more of its next European home games in an empty San Siro. The team could also face a possible ban from next season's European competitions.

The trouble in Milan raised fears of further violence in Turin on Wednesday at the Champions League quarterfinal between Juventus and Liverpool.

Some Italian fans are calling for retaliation for the 1985 Heysel stadium tragedy when 39 people, mostly Juventus fans, were crushed to death in riots blamed largely on Liverpool supporters at the European Cup final in Brussels.

A Liverpool supporter was attacked Tuesday night by bat-wielding Juventus fans in a Turin bar. Six Italians men were arrested Wednesday in the attack.

Over 1,000 police officers have been deployed for Wednesday's match.

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