The Italian authorities have taken measures to curb the growing hooligan threat currently afflicting Italian football.

The government has confirmed that police will be given wider powers when it comes to the arrest and detention of those thought to be involved in football hooliganism.

Police will alllowed up to arrest a suspect up; to 48 hours after an incident, provided there is sufficient evidence against them.

The decree, which was first introduced in August 2001, was amended after just six games as it was deemed unconstitutional.

Mario Pescante, secretary of the Ministry of Culture, demanded that the Italian Football Federation take a strong line against football violence.

“Now hooligans will be forced to face the courts,’ said Pescante. ‘The government has done everything it can and now the football authorities must act to sanction hooligans.”

According to a police report, injuries to supporters and police have risen 260 per cent since last season.