Italian Hooligans

Italian ultras are world famous for there passionate visual and vocal displays that they put on at football matches. The ultras organise choreography's involving banners, flares, smoke effects and fireworks to create electric atmospheres that are the envy of Europe.

Italian Ultras display amazing passion for there clubs

But for all the good they do in creating these atmospheres there is a darker under belly to what ultras stand for. Ultra in Italian means beyond limit, they have a strong, deep and insane passion for there clubs. They are prepared to fight for the respect of there clubs colours and weapons including knives are commonly used.

In more recent years there has been a number of serious injuries and deaths as a result of football violence. The highest profile case being the death of a policeman at a game between Catania and Palermo. Police officer Filippo Raciti was struck in the face with a small explosive after trying to break up the fighting outside the stadium. The game itself was suspended after an hour due to crowd trouble. The police fired tear gas into the stands and the players were unable to continue. The violence broke out because Palermo fans were stopped from entering the ground until the second half. As a result the Italian football association called a halt to all matches while they undertook a review of the situation. Now football matches are played with tighter security measures in place. Although this hasn't eradicated the problem.

Italian football stadium where Catania ultras killed a police after battles outside

English fans have had there fair share of clashes with Italian Ultras. Most notably in 1985 when a European cup final between Liverpool and Juventus ended with the death of 39 fans (38 italians). In recent years Liverpool have been to Roma twice, where 5 Liverpool fans were stabbed in February 2001 at a UEFA Cup match and another 6 Liverpool fans were stabbed at a Champions League game the following season. In 2006 three middlesborough fans were stabbed and more injured as Roma supporters surrounded bars full of boro fans and attacked them. Then in 2007 Manchester United played Roma in a Champions League match and there fans took a beating from the Italian police inside the stadium.

Manchester United fans taking a beating in Rome