Liverpool Soccer Fans Stabbed in Rome

R O M E, Feb. 15, 2001 -- AS Roma hooligans stabbed four Liverpool fans before a 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 and bottles clashed with police outside the stadium and beat up an Associated Press Television News crew.

About 4,000 Liverpool fans were in Italy's capital for the teams' first meeting since the English club beat Roma on penalty kicks in the 1984 Champions Cup final.

Fearing violence, authorities banned the sale of alcohol from noon today until 4 p.m. Friday in and around the stadium, in the city's historic center — where many Liverpool fans were staying — and at Ciampino airport.

Two Leeds United fans were stabbed to death in Istanbul on the eve of a UEFA Cup game against Turkish club Galatasaray last April.

Two Victims Remain Hospitalized

Today, three Roma supporters attacked two 27-year-old Norwegians outside Olympic Stadium two hours before kickoff, police said. The victims probably will be hospitalized for a week.

A British man needed surgery after another attack near the arena, while another Liverpool fan was hospitalized with stab wounds to the arm and thigh from a pre-dawn fight.

A gang of about 30 people kicked and punched an APTN cameraman and a reporter and destroyed their camera. The cameraman was treated at a hospital for a head cut.

Liverpool spokesman Ian Cotton told the club's official Web site that he'd spoken with authorities in Rome, and "there is no suggestion that any of our fans have been causing trouble."

The litany of trouble at soccer matches in Italy, and elsewhere in Europe, seems to grow each week.

There were battles between Lazio and Napoli fans at Olympic Stadium that sent 20 people to the hospital. One Napoli supporter was stabbed.

In December, to protest fan violence, players forced a 15-minute delay to the kickoffs of all Serie A and B games.