A police officer was killed Friday when fans rioted at a Serie A game between Sicilian sides Catania and Palermo, prompting the Italian soccer federation (FIGC) to postpone all league matches this weekend and cancel next week’s friendlies involving the national teams.
Fans rioted outside Catania’s Angelo Massimino stadium during the second half. Police fired tear gas, which wafted into the stadium and forced the match to be temporarily suspended in the 58th minute with Palermo leading 1-0.
Television footage from Sky TG24 News showed players struggling to breathe and pouring bottled water on their faces.
Police said the officer died after an explosive device was thrown inside his vehicle.
The violence continued after the game, in which Palermo beat Catania 2-1, trapping hundreds of fans inside the stadium as authorities sought to avoid further violence and stop people from leaving.
The ANSA news agency reported that nine Catania fans had been detained, but none was suspected of killing the officer. Police in Catania could not confirm the report early Saturday as all top officials were in a meeting or out of their offices.
FIGC commissioner Luca Pancalli called an emergency meeting in Rome late Friday, and announced that he was cancelling all games, the federation said.
“The decision to block the championships was immediate,” Pancalli told a news conference after the meeting. “We cannot continue like this. What we’re witnessing has nothing to do with soccer, therefore Italian soccer is stopping.”
Catania president Antonino Pulvirenti has resigned this morning.