Petrucci: English culture not for Italians

ROME - Italy does not need sporting-culture lessons from England, Italian Olympic Committee chief Gianni Petrucci said on Wednesday as the row over Fabio Capello's accusation that ultra fans were ruining Serie A continued.

England coach Capello irked many of his Italian compatriots earlier this week by saying the hardcore ultras were allowed to do what they wanted and that stadiums in Spain and Britain were more family friendly.

"Sporting culture certainly cannot come from the English," Petrucci, who had already contested Capello's comments on Monday, told Mediaset television.

"The word hooligan comes from English. I don't forget that the English were banned from European competition for five years and this did not happen here."

Petrucci admitted that Italy had had problems with hooliganism in recent years but added that "giant steps" had been made in bringing it under control.

On Tuesday, AS Roma boss Claudio Ranieri suggested he agreed with Capello, saying that Juventus did not buy Inter Milan's Dejan Stankovic while he was in charge there because of fan opposition.

Juve's current boss Ciro Ferrara disputed this and pointed out that the Turin club brought Fabio Cannavaro back from Real Madrid in the close season despite many of their fans' hostility to the move.

Lazio coach Davide Ballardini was forced to switch pitches in training on Tuesday when fans protesting against his side's poor form set off fire-crackers.