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Rome mayor seeks to ban Feyenoord fans from Roma game

Match is day before Expo 2030 visitation.

Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri has asked Italy's interior minister Matteo Piantedosi to ban supporters of Dutch football club Feyenoord from attending a Europa League quarter-final clash against AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on 20 April.

The mayor on Friday expressed his concerns for the potential of violence similar to what occurred in 2015 when Feyenoord fans caused mayhem in Rome before a Europa League match against AS Roma.

Calling on the interior minister to adopt a "very tough attitude, to protect the city of Rome", Gualtieri noted that the match was scheduled on the eve of an inspection by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in relation to the capital's bid to host Expo 2030.

Last September, when Piantedosi was the prefect of Rome, authorities banned the sale of tickets to Feyenoord fans ahead of a UEFA Cup match against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico.

Gualtieri's appeal comes days after 'ultra' supporters of German football club Eintracht Frankfurt rioted in Naples, ahead of a Champions League match against Napoli.

Italy's national committee for public order and security has also raised concerns of possible violence between fans at Sunday's Rome derby between Lazio and AS Roma, and next Thursday's international match between Italy and England in Naples, reports news agency ANSA.

It is likely that Gualtieri's request will be accepted, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, also in light of online threats from some Feyenoord fans to repeat the violence that occurred in Rome eight years ago.

On 19 February 2015, rioting Feyenoord supporters clashed with Rome police at the Spanish Steps and in Villa Borghese after spending the day drinking, in defiance of alcohol restrictions in place.

Rioters threw smoke bombs and smashed glass bottles against the 17th-century Barcaccia fountain, accredited to Pietro Bernini, whose famous son Gian Lorenzo possibly assisted his father in the monument's decoration.

The central part of the Baroque monument was damaged, with chipped fragments of the fountain visible in the waters along with glass bottles and trash dumped by the hooligans who also vandalised 15 city buses.

The travertine fountain, built in 1626-29, had recently undergone a year-long restoration.

The clashes resulted in the arrest of 50 Feyenoord fans, with 18 people injured, including 13 police officers. The damage caused by the vandalism in Rome was estimated at €5.2 million, according to Italian news reports at the time.

Last year a court in Rome found six Feyenoord fans guilty in absentia of vandalising the Barcaccia fountain, handing out sentences ranging from three years and eight months to four years.

Cover image: Barcaccia fountain, Piazza di Spagna, 19 February 2015. Photo Leggo.

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