Gunfire injures three Naples fans ahead of Italy final

Fans wait for the start of the Italian football cup final, 3 May 2014 The start of the match was delayed while officials spoke to fans

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Three Napoli football fans were injured by gunfire in Rome before the Italian cup final between Napoli and Fiorentina, Italian media report.

All three fans were taken to hospital, at least one in a serious condition.

Reports say a policeman and passer-by were also hurt in the violence on the outskirts of Rome where fans were gathering before the match.

The kick-off for the game, which was eventually won by Napoli, was delayed by more than half an hour.

The circumstances of the shootings are unclear but clashes between rival fans were reported outside the match venue - the Olympic Stadium in the Tor di Quinto district.

However, police have suggested the shootings do not appear to have been linked to this violence.

Smoke from flares thrown by supporters during the Italian cup final, 3 May 2014 Parts of the stadium were engulfed in smoke from fireworks and flares
Injured firefighter at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, 3 May 2014 A firefighter was injured by one of the flares thrown on to the pitch by fans

Officials say they do not exclude the involvement of "ultra" supporters of local team AS Roma, who threw stones and bottles at police.

The most severely injured man, a 30-year-old Napoli supporter, was apparently shot in the chest.

Other injuries were also caused by firecrackers, reports say, and a pistol used in the shootings has been recovered.

There were disturbances inside the stadium with firecrackers and smoke bombs apparently being thrown by Napoli supporters.

"We appeal to the fans who are here for the final to treat it as it should be - an evening of sport and football and not one that should give rise to episodes of violence," Maurizio Beretta, President of Lega Serie A said.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that some Napoli fans had wanted the game to be cancelled after hearing about the shootings.

Napoli player Marek Hamsik and other officials went to their side of the stadium to reason with them before the match kicked off.

The events were witnessed at the stadium by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, there for the match with his wife and children.

Napoli eventually beat Fiorentina 3-1 to win the cup for the fifth time, with Italy international Lorenzo Insigne scoring two goals.

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