Police officer dies after Sicily soccer fans riots, officials cancel games

Friday, February 2nd 2007, 9:53 pm
By: News On 6

CATANIA, Sicily (AP) _ Fan rioting at a soccer game between two Sicilian teams left a police officer dead and another injured Friday, prompting authorities to postpone several upcoming matches, officials said.

Fighting among fans outside the stadium during the Catania-Palermo match forced the temporary suspension of the game after tear gas filled the stadium. Play was eventually resumed and Palermo won 2-1.

But the violence continued after the game, and hundreds of fans were trapped inside the stadium as authorities sought to avoid farther violence. There was no immeidate word on what sparked the violence.

Police said the officer died after an explosive device was thrown inside his vehicle. The ANSA news agency reported that nine fans had been detained, but none was suspected of killing the officer.

The governing body of Italian soccer, Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio, said another police officer was in critical condition, and police said dozens of injured people had been taken to hospitals.

FIGC commissioner Luca Pancalli announced weekend league games had been called off.

``We cannot continue like this,'' he said. ``What we're witnessing has nothing to do with soccer, therefore Italian soccer is stopping.''