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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lazio Supporter Gabriele Sandri Accidentally Shot and Killed by Italian Police at an Arezzo Rest Stop

Gabriele Sandri, 1981-2007.
Courtesy of La Gazzetta dello
Sport as a memorial tribute.
Update: 12 November

Martha at The Offside Blog has been following this matter in great detail. To read more, please click here.

The tragic death of a Lazio fan in Arezzo, who was traveling with friends to Milan, has again reared the ugly head of violence related to Italian football.

An Accidental Death

Let's be clear about this recent tragedy. Current facts indicated that it happened by accident far away from a stadium, but its impact was felt up and down the Italian peninsula. A later game in Bergamo between Atalanta and AC Milan had to be suspended after 10 minutes of play when Ultras began to flower the pitch with projectiles, and threatened to break down a fence to enter the field of play.
Not Identified as Soccer Fans

A group of rival supporters, one from Rome who supported Lazio, and the other from Naples who supported Juventus, clashed at a rest stop restaurant outside of the Tuscan town of Arezzo. Police intervened not knowing they were soccer fans. Preliminary reports state that a shot was fired in the air as a warning, but it tragically struck Gabriele Sandri, 26. a Roman disc jockey, and a fan of Lazio. He and his friends were in their car when this happened. Mr. Sandi died at the scene. Apparently, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport, Mr. Sandi was well-known among the Lazio staff. The game in Milan between Internazionale and Lazio was postponed due to his death. The remaining games in the Serie A kicked-off 10 minutes after their normal time of 1500, with players and referees wearing black arm bands. All except Clarence Seedorf of AC Milan. He refused to wear the tribute for his own personal reasons.

Whether the later game between AS Roma and Cagliari (2030) takes place has not been decided. (It was later cancelled).

Update (12 November)

Here is a new development from La Gazzetta dello Sport. A witness has given a statement in Rome as the authorities continue their investigation.

“Ha sparato impugnando la pistola con entrambe le mani e le braccia erano tese. Non mi sembra sparasse in aria, anzi…”

“He fired gripping the pistol with both hands and his arms were tense. It didn’t seem to me to be fired into the air, on the contrary…”


Last year, a police inspector was killed by an Ultra outside of a stadium in Catania, Sicily, which prompted many security reforms in Italian football. Although this recent tragedy (if the events have been presented accurately) could have happened anywhere in the world, its importance will be felt farther than the confines of Italy.
No doubt, many headlines across the world will say "Italian Police Kill Football Fan." As I just read on the BBC. With the unfortunate but logical conclusion that this tragedy occurred at a stadium.
His Last Words to a Lazio footballer

Courtesy of Wikipedia.

"Aveva suonato in discoteca fino alle 6 di mattina, poi mi ha mandato un messaggio:
'In partenza come sempre per portarvi fino alla vittoria. Sempre con voi'.

Mr. Sandri sent a message to a young Lazio defender, Lorenzo De Silvestri, earlier this morning. He appeared for the young man's 18th birthday, and they became friends.
"He had to spin records in the disco until 0600 in the morning, then he sent me a message."

'Departing like always to be there for the victory. Always with all of you.'
There is an Italian saying, and I am very reluctant to use it today.

"I could never die on a Sunday, because then I would miss my Italian football."

Resta in pace, Signor Sandri. Le condoglianze alla famiglia Sandri.

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