Italians approve stadium laws

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The Italian government have approved new safety measures for its football stadiums.

Italy's cabinet met on Wednesday to discuss the controversial new measures, as Italian football tries to respond to last Friday's violent scenes in Sicily.

A policeman was killed following clashes with supporters after an ill-tempered derby clash between Catania and Palermo, with all of last weekend's games in Serie A and B having been suspended as a result.

The situation has prompted the Italian government to bring in a stiff new measures to tackle hooliganism in their football grounds.

Under the new measures, stadiums that are not in line with the new criteria will remain closed to supporters, meaning several clubs could be playing matches behind closed doors.

Six Serie A grounds currently meet the new criteria - the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Palermo's Stadio Renzo Barbera, Messina's Stadio San Filippo and the recently-refurbished Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino in Turin.

Sampdoria's Stadio Luigi Ferraris and Siena's Stadio Artemio Franchi also meet the new regulations.

The other Serie A grounds all require varying degrees of upgrade to come into line with the new measures, with the Giuseppe Meazza (pictured) in Milan to name one.

The new measures are sure to upset the clubs that are affected, with the financial consequences of games behind closed doors likely to be dear.

The news will surely affect the likes of Celtic and Scotland, who are due to travel to Italy for games next month.

The Bhoys are due to face Milan in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League tie, while Scotland are due to play Italy in a crucial Euro 2008 qualifier in Bari on 28th March.

It remains to be seen if Celtic or Scotland will be playing their Italian opposition at a neutral venue, as a result of Wednesday's decision by the Italian government.

The Italian FA (FIGC) are due to confirm on Thursday which stadia will be affected by the new regulations.

Italian Olympic Committee president Gianni Petrucci insisted that the decision is not a punishment against the affected clubs.

"It's not a punishment against the clubs' presidents," insisted Petrucci.

"I thank the government for the quickness with which they have faced these problems, and this new law represents an arrival point."