Cudicini calls for Italy to follow England’s example on tackling hooliganism
16:49 23 November 2012
PA Archive/Press Association Images
Carlo Cudicini has urged Italian football to follow England’s lead in tackling the issue of hooliganism as the former Lazio goalkeeper expressed his shock at yesterday’s attack on Tottenham fans in Rome.
A group of up to 50 masked thugs injured nine Spurs fans and three tourists in a horrifying attack in the Italian capital during the early hours of Thursday morning.
One Spurs fan was taken to hospital after being stabbed in the head and leg while others in the Drunken Ship pub were attacked with wooden planks, chair legs and knuckle-dusters.
Police said today that two Roma fans have been charged with attempted murder following the incident, but the fact that the attackers targeted football fans suggests the incident could be related to the intense rivalry between English and Italian fans that has boiled over in the past.
Italian police have been criticised for their failure to stop fans of Middlesbrough, Manchester United and Liverpool being attacked in the Eternal City in the last 11 years.
Hooliganism was rife in England during the 1970s and 1980s, but the authorities have now clamped down on the troublemakers and mass arrests are rare.
Spurs goalkeeper Cudicini, who spent eight years playing in Italy before moving to London, thinks his native country should take a leaf out of England’s book if they want to stamp out the problem.
“I think England can become a role model for all nations on this,” said the goalkeeper, who was on the Tottenham bench for last night’s 0-0 draw against Lazio.
“It’s a country that should be looked at, in terms of how we look to solve the hooligan problems.
“I remember when I was playing in Italy we were looking at England like it was a very dangerous place to go and so I found it quite strange that now it’s the opposite.
“There are not a lot of incidents in England and the English stadiums have places for families to go and for children to come and watch matches.”
Cudicini was stunned to hear the extent of the violence that preceded yesterday’s Europa League game at the Stadio Olimpico, and called on UEFA to take action.
“I read it on the internet and I was shocked,” the 39-year-old said.
“I can imagine people travelling to Rome to have a look at the city and watch the game but then suddenly find out there are other people out there trying to almost kill you.
“I wouldn’t want to see that [kind of incident]. If this keeps happening then UEFA has to do something, because I can’t think about Italy as a dangerous place to come. If this keeps happening then something has to be done.”
During last night’s game a section of the home crowd in the Curva Nord section of the Stadio Olimpico unfurled a ‘Free Palestine’ banner and allegedly chanted “Juden Tottenham” in an apparent anti-Semitic jibe at the supporters of the club, who have a strong connection with the Jewish community in London.