Sunday, February 2, 2014
2 February 2007 - The Death Of Filippo Raciti
Hooliganism had been on the rise in Italian football after the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal broke the previous year, resulting in relegation for Juventus and points deductions and other penalties for a handful of other clubs. But the groups of supporters, called ultras, directed the violence at the police rather than each other.
The situation came to a head when Palermo visited Catania in February. A fierce rivalry under normal circumstances, tensions were exacerbated by the fact that both teams were challenging for European qualification spots. In addition, the game was played at night to accommodate the television schedule, allowing the aggression to build up over the day.
Fighting broke out in the stands after Palermo took the lead, prompting the police to use tear gas, which stopped the game for 30 minutes. Catania leveled shortly after play resumed, but Palermo scored again for the win.
Afterward, a group of ultras turned on the police, attacking them with fireworks, metal pipes, and even a broken sink taken from one of the stadium's restrooms. Raciti, who suffered blunt force trauma to his liver, was rushed to the hospital, but died later that day.
The Italian Football Federation canceled all matches for the following week, then instituted a series of reforms to stem the violence.