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FOOTBALL

‘Indescribable violence’ as football fans torch club president’s cars

Two cars belonging to the president of Serie A strugglers Pescara were set alight in an arson attack blamed Tuesday on hardline "ultra" fans upset at the club's poor form.

'Indescribable violence' as football fans torch club president's cars
A recent match between Pescara and Juventus.Photo: AFP

President Daniele Sebastiani said he planned to quit the crisis club after a Smart car and an SUV were torched, according to reports. Police were alerted by neighbours who saw one of the vehicles engulfed in flames.

Serie A condemned the “indescribable acts of violence” and Sebastiani said he had “had enough” and would quit at the end of the season, according to Il Centro newspaper.

“We hope those responsible are brought to justice as soon as possible. Intimidation or violence is not to be tolerated, especially by a president who has always run his club with immense passion and commitment,” said a league statement.

Police in Pescara are studying closed circuit television cameras near the scene following the incident.

Pescara, promoted to Italy's top flight this season, have struggled to climb their way out of the relegation zone since the start of the campaign.

Sebastiani offered to resign last week to spare coach Massimo Oddo the axe and on Tuesday went a step further.

“That's it, I've had enough,” he was reported as saying by Il Centro. “I will leave the club at the end of the season.”

It is not the first time fans have gone to extreme measures to express their ire at Oddo's side, who sit bottom of the table on nine points with just one win and six draws from 23 games.

Graffiti insulting Sebastiani appeared on the walls of the club's Adriatico stadium on Monday following a 6-2 hammering by Lazio.

Pescara have shipped a league-leading tally of 50 goals so far and are 13 points from the safety zone.

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ROME

‘Bank robber’ rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

Four people were arrested in Rome after a suspected would-be bank robber was rescued from a tunnel under a road, police said on Friday.

'Bank robber' rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

An Italian man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican, suspected of being part of a gang burrowing its way to a nearby bank.

Firefighters spent eight hours digging him out from under a road in the west of Rome, before he was finally freed on Thursday evening and taken to hospital.

“Two people from Naples were arrested for resisting a public official and two, from Rome, for damage” to public property, a police spokesman told AFP.

The rescued man, one of the two Romans, remains in hospital, he said without giving an update on his condition.

“We are still investigating, we do not exclude that they are thieves, it is one of the theories,” he said.

For Italian newspapers, however, the motive was clear, with reports noting the tunnel was found near a bank ahead of the August 15th long weekend, when residents traditionally head out of town and much of Rome is left empty.

“The hole gang,” headlined newspapers Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, while La Stampa said: “They dig a tunnel to rob a bank, and one of them is buried underground.”

Other reports referred to the suspected burglar as l’uomo-talpa, or ‘mole man’.

An AFP reporter at the scene on Thursday saw the man brought out alive on a stretcher, after a day-long operation involving dozens of emergency service workers using mechanical diggers.

The tunnel began underneath an empty shop that had recently been rented.

“We all thought that the people there were renovating the place. So we had no suspicions and we did not hear noises either,” a resident, Michele, who lives in the same building told AFP.

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