Italy arrests leaders of Juventus hard-line ultra fans

Juventus fans cheer prior to the Italian Serie A football match Fiorentina vs Juventus on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at the Artemio-Franchi stadium in Florence. (AFP)
Updated 16 September 2019

Italy arrests leaders of Juventus hard-line ultra fans

  • Arrests were the culmination of a year-long probe centered on the alleged blackmail of ticketing officials

ROME: Italian police on Monday arrested 12 leading Juventus hard-line fans as part of a major investigation into violence and extortion linked to match ticket sales.
The suspects are accused of criminal association, aggravated extortion, money laundering and violence, police said.
The arrests were the culmination of a year-long probe centered on the alleged blackmail of ticketing officials by the “ultras,” who wanted cut-price blocks of tickets they could sell to fellow fans.
They reportedly began threatening to sing racist chants during matches — which would lead to the club being hit with fines and possibly having points deducted — after Juventus stopped distributing blocks of tickets for resale in 2017, Italian media said.
Police said the hardcore groups had set up a “widespread criminal strategy to ‘restore’ lost favors.”
Those arrested included the heads of the Drughi, Tradizione-Antichi Valori, Viking, Nucleo 1985 and Quelli ... di via Filadelfia groups, police said in a statement.
Officers were carrying out 39 search warrants targeting those arrested and other suspects, with the help of police from cities across northern and central Italy, from Alessandria to Bergamo, Florence, Genoa and Milan.


Saudi national football team visits Al-Aqsa mosque

Updated 37 min 51 sec ago

Saudi national football team visits Al-Aqsa mosque

DUBAI: The Saudi national football team visited the Al-Aqsa mosque a day after they received a rousing welcome from the Palestinian government and supporters.

Photos circulating on social media showed the Saudi players and officials surrounded by fans at the mosque compound while on their way to pray.

Saudi Arabia will be playing an important World Cup qualifying match against Palestine on Tuesday.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Saudi team will have two training sessions, a closed technical meeting, and a joint press conference with the Palestinian team.