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UEFA to investigate Lazio clashes

  • Story Highlights
  • UEFA will probe violence and racist chanting at Lazio on Tuesday
  • Five Dinamo Bucharest fans were injured in clashes in Rome
  • Three players were sent off in the Champions League game, drawn 1-1
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ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- UEFA are to review the Champions League third qualifying round match between Lazio and Dinamo Bucharest which was marred by violence and racist chants, European soccer's governing body said on Wednesday.

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Lazio's Behrami is shown the red card by referee Henning after a two-footed tackle.

Five Romanians were injured in clashes with Lazio fans and one remains in hospital after being stabbed in the side. Inside the ground, Lazio's well-known right wing element chanted racist slogans during Tuesday's 1-1 first leg draw.

Lazio finished the game with nine men after Valon Behrami was sent off for a two-footed challenge and Mutarelli received a second yellow card .

Dinamo's Lucian Goian received a red card for a second bookable offense in injury time.

"We have to await the referee and observer reports before deciding whether to launch and disciplinary action, but we are looking into what went on at Lazio," a UEFA spokesman told reporters.

"If the violence happened outside of the ground then unfortunately that is a matter for the police and authorities in Italy.

"But we had concerns about racism before the game and if that is the case, then as you know we take a zero tolerance approach on racism."

Earlier this month UEFA threatened clubs with expulsion from its prestigious competitions and referees were ordered to stop matches immediately if there was any racist or violent behavior on the pitch or in the stands.

Lazio have been punished by UEFA on three previous occasions over violent and racist behavior, including being forced to play behind closed doors after racist abuse and crowd disturbances during a UEFA Cup in 2004.

"There is no doubt that there is a violent history surrounding Lazio fans and we always seem to have problems. In fact there was a question mark hanging over their stadium before this game," the UEFA spokesman said.

"But UEFA can not deal with this alone, it is a wider, social problem across many countries which needs to be tackled in a very tough way by all the authorities."

Italy has beefed up stadium security following revulsion at the death of a policeman in riots outside a match at Catania in February. The championship was briefly suspended as a warning but violence outside stadiums is still a problem.

A number of last season's European matches were dogged by violence and racism, while UEFA and the European Union are due to deliver a new plan to deal with the upsurge in soccer-related incidents later this year.

"We have already identified the culprits and they will pay," Italy's Interior Minister Giuliano Amato told reporters.

"We have taken control inside the stadiums. This happened outside the stadium. We will intensify the controls but it is easy to go around the city with a knife in your pocket."

Lazio are trying to stay positive despite the problems, the disappointing result and four injuries.

Brazilian defender Emilson Cribari was the worst affected and was due to undergo surgery on his broken jaw on Wednesday, making him doubtful for the second leg on August 28.

"It is all still open. Now we play the match in Romania and I think we have a 50 percent chance of going through," Lazio coach Delio Rossi told reporters.

"We must pick up the dead and injured and we will try just the same."

Rossi's words were unfortunate given the violent scenes outside the Stadio Olimpico. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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