Giovanni Trapattoni believes the Italian Football Federation will never be able to prevent the country’s supporters from watching their national team away from home.
FIFA have launched an investigation into the conduct of Italian fans during their World Cup qualifier in Bulgaria on Saturday.
A section of visiting fans threw bottles at Bulgarian supporters and made fascists salutes and chants during the goalless draw in Sofia.
FIFA confirmed this afternoon that “an investigation has been launched” and that they are “currently in the process of collecting all the relevant information”.
Italy’s football chief Giancarlo Abete has taken swift action in the wake of those unsavoury scenes, announcing today that Azzurri fans will be banned indefinitely from travelling to Italy’s away games.
But Trapattoni, the Republic of Ireland’s Italian coach, believes it is an embargo that will be impossible to enforce effectively.
“It’s a feeling at the moment, but there are always Italians living abroad who can go to see the national team,” he said.
“It’s like the Irish who live in America. They go into the stadium with flags for Ireland and America. It will be the same with Italy.”
Abete said earlier: “Until we have certainties and we are able to verify certain things, we will not ask for any tickets for Italy’s away games.”
Saturday’s incidents caused further embarrassment to a country that has tried to clamp down on football hooliganism in recent years.
Italy’s Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa was particularly shocked by the actions of three Italian fans that burned a Bulgarian flag.
Those supporters were detained by local police before being released today.
“I feel shame for what has happened,” said La Russa. “But especially for the horrible gesture that has seen some individuals burn a flag of a friendly country.”
The incidents come just one month after the Italian government announced measures to step up efforts to stamp out football hooliganism.
The game in Italy has been plagued by the problem in recent seasons with the start of this year’s Serie A campaign marred by vandalism and unruly behaviour from Napoli´s fans and other club supporters.
Italy’s Interior Minister Roberto Maroni recently launched an advertising campaign against violence in football.
The world champions host Montenegro in Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier in Lecce.
Their next away game is in Montenegro on March 23, 2009.