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Friday, February 16, 2007
Bari given green light to host Scots clash

Scotland's Euro 2008 qualifier against Italy next month will go ahead according to plan at Bari's San Nicola stadium.

Faxed confirmation arrived at Hampden Park, headquarters of the Scottish Football Association, this afternoon.

Italian authorities yesterday allowed Serie B side Bari to reopen their stadium to supporters after modifications were carried out in line with government demands, in a security crackdown ordered after the death of police officer Filippo Raciti at the Sicily derby between Catania and Palermo.

SFA officials will now meet their counterparts from the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) next Wednesday in Bari to finalise arrangements for the match between shock Group B leaders Scotland and the World Cup winners.

The FIGC have not yet decided what Scotland's ticket allocation should be, although thousands of Tartan Army supporters have already booked flights to the match.

SFA chief executive David Taylor urged the Italians to make a swift decision, to end all uncertainty.

According to the SFA, FIGC commissioner Luca Pancalli then confirmed the stadium would be open for business as usual for the March 28 match.

The San Nicola, named after St Nicholas, was designed by architect Renzo Piano for the 1990 World Cup.

The 58,241 capacity ground also staged the 1991 European Cup final between Red Star Belgrade and Marseille.

Bari fought off competition within Italy to win the right to stage the Scotland game, before the death of Raciti pushed the authorities to implement tough security standards.

Prefect of police Antonio Manganelli, who has been in charge of security policy regarding Italian stadia, yesterday confirmed the San Nicola was now fit for purpose.

He told reporters: 'The stadia that (now) meet the norms are Bari and Parma. They will be open to everyone from Sunday.'

Originally only six venues were permitted to host spectators although a seventh, Milan's San Siro, was eventually permitted to admit season-ticket holders after urgent work was done to the turnstile area last week.




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