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Inter face UEFA ruling on violence

Should soccer clubs with a record of violence be banned from international competitions?
Milan (Italy)

MILAN, Italy -- UEFA will decide on Friday what action to take against Inter Milan after their Champions League quarter-final was abandoned when AC Milan goalkeeper Dida was struck by a flare thrown by their supporters.

Andriy Shevchenko had put Milan 1-0 ahead, 3-0 on aggregate, on Tuesday night when German referee Markus Merk took the players off after 73 minutes at the San Siro.

UEFA's disciplinary body will meet in two days to decide on the result of the game and to hand out any ban, suspension or fine over the crowd disorder.

CNN sport anchor Don Riddell said there was now a feeling of anarchy in Italian football and some kind of punishment was now inevitable.

"This happened to English clubs 20 years ago after the Heysel tragedy and they were banned from European football for five years. This had a huge effect on English football.

"UEFA are not saying this could happen at this stage but local journalists tell me they fear their clubs could be banned for a season. One told me: 'Frankly we deserve it.'"

Their official website reported that "referee Merk will now submit his report to the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body, who will deal with the case."

UEFA could demand the second leg is replayed or just the last 17 minutes, but it was expected that AC Milan would be awarded the victory and Inter would be fined, suspended or banned.

The Trouble started after a header from Inter's Esteban Cambiasso was disallowed, prompting dozens of flares to rain down from the stands.

Brazilian international Dida needed medical treatment to his shoulder after he was struck by one of the flares.

Inter players urged their fans to stop hurling objects and the teams came back on to the field after 25 minutes.

Merk took them off again though after just 30 seconds play and finally abandoned the game when more flares came raining down with no sign of intervention from the police.

Flares confiscated

This is the second time this season that a Champions League match in Italy has been abandoned following crowd disorder.

In September Roma's tie at home to Dynamo Kiev was halted after referee Anders Frisk was hit by a missile thrown from the crowd and the Serie A club were ordered to play two home games behind closed doors.

"There were two or three hundred hooligans who were involved in throwing the flares," said Milan police chief Paolo Scarpi. "They have been caught on video camera -- they were the usual hotheads from the Inter sector," he added.

Scarpi said a large number of flares had been confiscated at the entrance to the stadium before the game -- but clearly dozens more had been smuggled through.

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