R O M E, Feb. 15, 2001 -- AS Roma hooligans stabbed four Liverpool fans beforea United Nations of European Football Associations Cup game today, the latest outbreak of violence in and around Italian soccer stadiums.
Just before the 8 p.m. kickoff, Roma fans throwing rocks andbottles clashed with police outside the stadium and beat up anAssociated Press Television News crew.
About 4,000 Liverpool fans were in Italy's capital for theteams' first meeting since the English club beat Roma on penaltykicks in the 1984 Champions Cup final.
Fearing violence, authorities banned the sale of alcohol fromnoon today until 4 p.m. Friday in and around the stadium, in thecity's historic center — where many Liverpool fans were staying — and at Ciampino airport.
Two Leeds United fans were stabbed to death in Istanbul on theeve of a UEFA Cup game against Turkish club Galatasaray last April.
Two Victims Remain Hospitalized
Today, three Roma supporters attacked two 27-year-oldNorwegians outside Olympic Stadium two hours before kickoff, policesaid. The victims probably will be hospitalized for a week.
A British man needed surgery after another attack near thearena, while another Liverpool fan was hospitalized with stabwounds to the arm and thigh from a pre-dawn fight.
A gang of about 30 people kicked and punched an APTN cameramanand a reporter and destroyed their camera. The cameraman wastreated at a hospital for a head cut.
Liverpool spokesman Ian Cotton told the club's official Web sitethat he'd spoken with authorities in Rome, and "there is nosuggestion that any of our fans have been causing trouble."
The litany of trouble at soccer matches in Italy, and elsewherein Europe, seems to grow each week.
There were battles between Lazio and Napoli fans at OlympicStadium that sent 20 people to the hospital. One Napoli supporterwas stabbed.
In December, to protest fan violence, players forced a 15-minutedelay to the kickoffs of all Serie A and B games.