Football: Roma 'ultra' charged over Cup final shootings

Football: Roma 'ultra' charged over Cup final shootings

ROME - Police in Rome have charged a man suspected of shooting three Napoli fans on the fringes of the Italian Cup final against Fiorentina with attempted manslaughter, media reported Sunday.

The Cup final, won 3-1 by Napoli at Rome's Olympic Stadium on Saturday following a delay caused by hardline Napoli fans, was marred by violent clashes between Napoli supporters and suspected fans of capital club Roma.

One of three Napoli fans wounded by shots is reported to be in an artificial coma as surgeons decide on how best to extract a bullet which has punctured a lung and lodged near his spinal cord.

A fourth man, believed to be a fan of Roma, was also taken to hospital. He was questioned by police on Saturday night in relation to the incidents prior to kick-off.

Domestic news agency ANSA reported on Sunday that police had arrested a hardline 'ultra' fan from Roma, Daniele De Santis, and charged him with attempted manslaughter.

Already known to police, the 48-year-old has been accused of launching flares at Napoli fans during clashes in the city prior to the match and then shooting in their direction after they reacted violently.

Reports late on Saturday initially said surgeons had extracted a bullet from the back of one of the fans, a 30-year-old named as Ciro Esposito.

But further reports said surgeons had yet to remove the bullet, which was lodged dangerously close to the spinal cord after puncturing a lung, for fear of leaving the fan paralysed.

Esposito, described as "critical but stable", was scheduled to be transferred to the city's Gemelli hospital, which is said to contain a specialist neurosurgical unit.

An updated report by ANSA on Sunday morning claimed the man's life was still in danger, with doctors describing his condition as "desperate" and adding: "the next 24 hours will be decisive".

The latest violence to hit Italian football has caused indignation with several editorials lamenting the lack of real action to tackle the scourge.

Antonio Conte, coach of Serie A leaders Juventus, said: "Every time serious incidents like this cause indignation, we hear the same voices saying what should be done.

"Then nothing is ever done to make sure they are not repeated."

New Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was one of several VIP's watching the surreal events unfold in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday, when the national anthem was whistled and jeered throughout.

The final was delayed for 45 minutes after Napoli 'ultra' fans ordered the team not to play after news of the shootings had filtered through to their Curva Nord (North End).

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