/ Soccer

Football is a scapegoat - Seedorf

Updated: Tuesday, 13 Nov 2007 08:31

Clarence Seedorf claims that football is not to blame for the latest spate of violence in Italy
Clarence Seedorf claims that football is not to blame for the latest spate of violence in Italy

Football is being made a scapegoat for a deeper problem in Italian society, according to AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf.

The game in Italy has once again found itself under the spotlight after another raft of violence on Sunday which left a Lazio fan dead.

That incident led to all of next weekend's domestic football being postponed and the country's sports minister, Giovanna Melandri, calling for Serie A games to be put on hold 'for several weeks'.

But Seedorf believes that would be missing the point.

The Dutchman told Sky Sports News: 'The government is using football for the problems in Italian society.

'They should think about shutting down the government for a couple of weeks.'

Seedorf feels not enough was done following the killing of policeman Filippo Raciti after violence broke out at the Sicilian derby match between Catania and Palermo nine months ago.

'The situation following the Catania riots has not changed,' he added. 'They (the government) cannot blame football every time.

'The people are not happy. They are coming to the stadiums to express their feelings and their feelings are not positive.

'They don't come to express their disappointment at the team. The whole country is lacking leadership.'

No Serie A games were scheduled for the coming weekend because of the latest round of qualifying matches for Euro 2008, but all Serie B and C fixtures have been postponed.

And Giancarlo Abete, president of the country's football federation (FIGC), has not ruled out the possibility of the postponements continuing after the international break.

After a meeting between between the FIGC and l'osservatorio nazionale sulle manifestazione sportive (the national surveillance unit of sporting events), he said: 'The decision taken by the federation with the consensus of the other organisations present is for the Serie B and C games scheduled for Sunday to be postponed.

'We don't intend to restart all tournaments from Sunday (November) 25.

'We will have to study, with the Serie A clubs, certain initiatives to be put in place by the 25th - a reflection of the values of football, like 'a categorical no to any form of violence'.'

Lazio fan Gabriele Sandri, a 26-year-old disc jockey, was shot dead by police on Sunday as they attempted to quell trouble between fans of the Biancoceleste and Juventus at a motorway service station near Arezzo.

News of the shooting prompted violence on the terraces at the game between Atalanta and AC Milan in Bergamo while, later in the day, fans in Rome armed with batons and stones attacked one of the police units in the vicinity of the Stadio Olimpico before raiding the CONI headquarters.

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