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Juventus game against Verona on Saturday could be postponed

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Rising tensions between fan groups could become a security issue

Soccer - UEFA Europa League - Juventus vs. Ajax Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images

As if Juventus did not have enough to handle on the pitch and in the boardroom, now it seems there’s supporter trouble brewing too, which could result in the postponement of this Saturday’s clash against Verona.

This all seems to have stemmed from the arrest yesterday of twelve leaders of Juventus ultras groups, as a nationwide investigation continues. The club have been involved with the authorities, providing information and footage where possible as the crackdown continues following a summer raid on Juve ultras that found an arsenal of weapons held by neo-Nazi and neo-Fascist extremists.

The Drughi Giovinezza section continued to be under the spotlight and had some of their leaders among the dozen captured yesterday, along with heads of other ultras groups Tradizione-Antichi valori, Viking, Nucleo 1985 e Quelli... di via Filadelfia.

Club President Andrea Agnelli, speaking to prosecutors, admitted that the club had been coerced by the ultras.

“Juve have been forced to adhere to the demands of the ultras, aware of the possible negative consequences such as racist chants and other conduct likely to result in fines, bans or closure of the curva.”

Soon after the arrests, a banner saying “the Curva Sud is dead” was rolled out, with no ultras taking the credit for it.

Turin deputy prosecutor Patrizia Caputo described Drughi as a ‘military-type’ organisation patronized by members with ‘a lifestyle of violence’. The twelve have been charged with various offenses including criminal conspiracy, blackmail, money laundering and violence.

Reportedly more searches are underway throughout the country as the authorities continue their investigation in a bid to eliminate hooliganism, but tensions are now escalating between rival fan groups and could affect this weekend’s Serie A schedule.

Turin police chief Giuseppe De Matteis mentioned that they were carefully watching developing proceedings as Juve host Hellas Verona.

“Saturday’s game was one that already caught our attention.

“They are two fan bases with different ideologies. Now the risks are increasing because reactions are predictable.”

Multiple incidents of racist chanting and taunting have already smeared the Italian game, but this level of extremism threatens to overtake that and bring football into further disrepute if not addressed swiftly and decisively.