Rome bans alcohol sales amid soccer violence fears

first_img Related iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) — The city of Rome has banned the sale of alcohol in some areas and thousands of Italian and British police have been deployed in a bid to prevent violence ahead of a major soccer game between A.S. Roma and Liverpool tonight.Roman officials on Tuesday banned alcohol sales in all city center bars and cafes as well as near the stadium and historical sites like the Coliseum in an effort to prevent drunken brawls.Dozens of Liverpool fans have already been seen drinking beer in public despite the ban.Some 5,000 Liverpool supporters are expected to watch the game in Rome.British police have joined their Italian counterparts, many in plainclothes to patrol the city. Roman officials said they put an additional 3,000 police on duty, adding patrols near Olympic Stadium where the match will be held.Tensions are especially high over fears that Liverpool fans might retaliate for last week’s violence. One Liverpool fan, 53-year-old Sean Cox, was attacked by Roma supporters and suffered severe bleeding in the brain. He remains in critical condition. Two Roma fans have been charged with the attack. Strict control over ticket sales has been in place at all Roma matches to control who enters the stadium and to prevent illegal ticket sales. Each ticket has the purchaser’s name and passport number on it and there are numerous identification checks to get inside the stadium.Merseyside Police chief superintendent Dave Charnock urged fans not to travel to Italy if they do not have tickets.“If the details on your ticket and passport do not match, you will be refused entry to the ground by Italian authorities,” he said. Liverpool fans have been told to gather at two designated sites in the city and will be escorted three hours ahead of the match to the stadium. Their visitors section will be protected by police. Following the game, Liverpool supporters will need to stay in the stadium until all Roma fans have exited.Police have posted English language posters on its social media accounts to tell Liverpool fans where to congregate. The alcohol ban will stay in place until Friday. Police have already fined bar owners who reportedly sold drinks to Liverpool fans.The U.S. Embassy issued a security warning to Americans to avoid areas where football supporters might congregate in numbers.Roma soccer legend Francesco Totti also appealed to the team’s supporters, urging them to avoid violence. Roma players practiced in shirts with “Forza Sean” across their chests on Tuesday, a tribute to the injured Liverpool fan. The American owner of AS Roma, Jim Pallotta, has been very outspoken about fan behavior and wrote a strongly worded message on the team’s Facebook page warning that the violence is destroying the club’s reputation and hurting Italian soccer more widely.Pallota called the attack on Sean Cox the “most disgusting stupidity.”“These games are great,” wrote Pallota, “but they’re not life and death. What’s going on right now with Sean Cox in Liverpool, that’s life and death.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img

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