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Politicians vow action after Italian fans clash on motorway

file photo: serie a as roma v napoli
AS Roma fans let off flares

Italian political leaders vowed on Monday to crack down on rowdy football fans after Roma and Napoli supporters clashed at a motorway service area, forcing authorities briefly to shut the main road linking the north and south.

“Motorway closed and Italian travellers stranded. The culprits should pay for the damage from their own pockets, and never go to the stadium again,” said Transport Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the coalition League party.

The fans, who have a long history of enmity, clashed in and around a motorway service station on the A1 motorway in Tuscany.

Napoli ultras threw stones and smoke bombs from the side of the road at the passing Roma fans, who stopped their minivans to retaliate. The skirmishes between hooded youths spread to the service station forecourt before police restored order.

A Roma fan who had required medical treatment after the clashes was later arrested while police said they would use video images to identify other suspects.

The Napoli fans were heading north to Genoa for a game against Sampdoria, while the Roma fans were also driving north en route to Milan where their team faced AC Milan.

Italy has a long history of soccer violence, with clubs struggling to control the actions of the hard-core ultra groups who are often accused of links with criminal gangs.

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