Trouble on Italian terraces spilled over into the international arena at the weekend, with Azzurri supporters clashing with Bulgarian fans and riot police in ugly scenes in Sofia.
According to reports, Italian ultras threw bottles at Bulgarian supporters, burned the Bulgarian flag, while displaying fascist salutes and singing fascist chants. And when the riot police predictably charged into the away support to simmer the crowd, they were met with a violent response from the unruly thugs.
Giancarlo Abete, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president, condemned those involved and committed the FIGC from preventing the ultras from entering stadiums. Abete said, “Until we have certainties and we are able to verify certain things, we will not ask for any tickets for Italy’s away games. I feel great bitterness and pain for what has happened. The process to isolate these individuals is long but this is a dark episode… I don’t believe they are fans but individuals who are prone to delinquent behaviour with the intention of damaging the image of our nation. But we have all their names and we will punish them.”
The violence in Sofia can be seen here.