Tartan Army still awaiting news on Italy venue

February 9, 2007

No decision will be taken on any possible change of venue for the March 28 Euro 2008 qualifier between Italy and Scotland for at least a few days, according to the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

The Federation had designated the southern Italian city of Bari as the venue for the match which pits the World Cup holders against the Group B surprise packages.

However, yesterday Bari's Stadio San Nicola was one of 25 venues declared unsuitable to host spectators after the security checks that were carried out on stadia in Italy following the death of policeman Filippo Raciti in crowd violence at last Friday's Sicily derby between Catania and Palermo.

FIGC officials admit they are at the mercy of the authorities as regards to where the March 28 game will be played.

An FIGC spokesman told PA Sport today: 'At the moment the designated venue for the Scotland game remains Bari.

'We need to wait for a few days to see what the government, the local magistrates and the police decide.

'This process is still in its very early stages and it will take a few more days before the position becomes clearer.

'When the authorities have carried out an assessment then we will be in a position to make a decision.'

The San Nicola - named after the original Santa Claus, St Nicholas, who is buried in Bari - was seen as state-of-the-art when unveiled for the 1990 World Cup.

A year later the town situated in Puglia - a region situated on the heel of the boot-shaped Italian mainland - also hosted the European Cup final between Red Star Belgrade and Marseille.

The 58,241-capacity venue was designed by famous architect Renzo Piano.

Only Rome's Stadio Olimpico, Genoa's Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Turin's Stadio Olimpico, Palermo's Stadio Renzo Barbera, Siena's Stadio Artemio Francho and Cagliari's Stadio Sant'Elia have passed the safety tests so far.

Bari is one of 25 venues declared to have 'inadequacies' - others include Milan's famous San Siro arena.

Italy's minister of sport Giovanna Melandri has assured Scotland fans they will be welcome at the game wherever it is played.

'What I can assure is that we will be able to host international games and also in terms of hosting fans from other clubs, international clubs, we will be hosting them as well,' she told Sky Sports News today.