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Germany and recent World Cup winners Italy are well fancied for Euro 2008.

UEFA president Michel Platini believes Italian football is being held to ransom by the spate of violent incidents taking place in the country.

Platini was speaking after the suspension of second and third division matches in Italy after the fatal shooting of a fan by a policeman sparked nationwide riots.

“It is necessary to stop the people that are holding football hostage and I therefore agree with a ban on the movement of violent fans,” Platini told La Repubblica on Wednesday.

But the former France player and coach said he was “surprised” by the decision by the Italian federation to suspend Serie B and C matches scheduled for the weekend.

“What has football got to do with what happened at Arezzo? Nothing. It’s a problem of Italian society, a public order problem: football is only taken hostage.

“Why the black armband (worn by players), why the suspension of matches? It’s too easy. These incidents took place 300km from the stadia, and of what are the football clubs guilty?” he asked.

Germany and recent World Cup winners Italy are well fancied for Euro 2008.

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