Italian footballers ambushed by armed hooligans

Italian footballers ambushed by armed hooligans
Hooligans assaulted the team bus of Foggia Calcio following a defeat to local rivals. Photo: Tasayu Tasaphun
An angry mob of between 150 and 200 hooligans managed to board Foggia Calcio's team bus on Saturday, punching footballers.

The hooligans were whipped up into a rage after their team's 3-0 derby defeat to local rivals Fidelis Andria, and lay in wait for the players to return from the away fixture before springing their ambush.

The mob, armed with baseball bats and iron bars, attacked the returning team bus as it approached the square in front of Pino Zaccheria stadium, in central Foggia, Puglia.

“Some of the attackers got onto the bus and exchanged blows with the players. One player was hit with a punch,” Danilo Coppola, the Italian FA spokesperson for the Lega Pro – Italy’s third tier of professional football – told Gazzetta dello Sport.

A video of the ambush can be seen below.

The footballers were forced to flee the city and spend the night in a secret location, believed to be the nearby down of Pescara, over fears for their safety, Coppola said.

In addition to injuring a player with a punch, the hooligans also injured five policemen who tried to intervene.

Foggia FC said that the angry mob had been made up only of “pseudo fans that have nothing to do with football.” 

“A show of disappointment after our negative result is understandable, but never in a million years would we have expected so much violence,” the statement said.

Police have opened an investigation into the incident, and are working to identify the perpetrators.