PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Three Swarthmore College students studying abroad in Rome are recovering from injuries suffered in a melee instigated by Italian soccer fans, school officials said Sunday.
Student Nicholas Burnett is hospitalized in good condition with a back wound and should be released in a few days, according to the college.
Fellow student Nick Constantino got stitches for a cut on his head, and Zachary Schaffer sustained bruises. Neither required hospitalization, college officials said.
The juniors were among several people injured when dozens of hooligans wielding cobblestones, knives and metal rods attacked supporters of England’s visiting Tottenham team at a pub before a game Thursday. Two Italian men have been charged.
“This terrible episode has been very difficult for those directly affected by it, as well as their close family and friends,” Liz Braun, Swarthmore’s dean of students, said in a statement Sunday night. “We are deeply relieved and grateful that our students are all recovering well and we look forward to welcoming them back to campus next semester.”
Burnett, Constantino and Schaffer are enrolled in a study-abroad program sponsored by Temple University in Philadelphia.
The bar where the attack occurred, called The Drunken Ship, is in Rome’s popular Campo de’ Fiori neighborhood. The pub is popular with Americans, and the students just happened to be there with friends, said Temple spokesman Ray Betzner.
Police said about 50 assailants, whose faces were covered by motorcycle helmets and scarves, set upon the bar before Tottenham was to play a Europa League match against Lazio.
Italian news reports, quoting unidentified witnesses, said the hooligans shouted “Jew” during the attack. Tottenham is known for having a large Jewish fan base from north London.
The pub was badly damaged, and one man was hospitalized with a severed femoral artery.
After investigations of 15 people and searches of homes, police arrested Francesco Ianari, 26, and Mauro Pinnelli, 25, on Friday. Authorities identified them as fans of Roma, Lazio’s crosstown rivals.
Initial reports said the men would be charged with attempted homicide. But on Sunday, an attorney representing Ianari said the stiffest charge the men faced at a preliminary hearing was aggravated injury.
Neither man entered a plea at Sunday’s proceeding, during which the judge ordered them to remain jailed. No further hearing dates were set.
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