Inter ruling is a test of Uefa's nerve
UEFA face a test of their determination to come down hard on football hooliganism when a disciplinary panel deliver their verdict on Friday on Inter Milan following the abandoned Champions League quarter-final at the San Siro.
Inter fans continued to throw missiles even after an appeal for calm. (BenRadford/GettyImages)
Inter have been charged by UEFA after AC Milan's keeper Dida was struck and burned by a flare thrown during a barrage of missiles during the derby on Tuesday night.
At the very least Inter will be thrown out of this season's competition but that is hardly a severe punishment considering they were 3-0 down on aggregate with 17 minutes left to play.
Attention will focus on what other action the disciplinary panel will take, given that in 2001 Inter were ordered to play two European home matches away from the San Siro and fined £35,000 (75,000 Swiss francs) after similar crowd trouble at their UEFA Cup game with Spanish side Alaves.
With growing concern both in UEFA and FIFA at the problem of football-related violence in Italy, there are many senior figures in the game who believe the disciplinary body need to take a very firm line.
Earlier this season, Roma received a two-match stadium ban and heavy fine after referee Anders Frisk was hit by a missile and abandoned the game, but that was viewed as a first offence.
One senior UEFA figure said: 'There is an expectation that Inter should be dealt with properly - if it is just another stadium ban and fine people may view that as UEFA letting them off lightly, and that is not the message we should be sending out.'
There is a precedent for expulsion in that another club Fiorentina were thrown out of the UEFA Cup in 1998 after a home-made explosive device hurled from the crowd during the match against Swiss side Grasshoppers injured the fourth official and caused the match to be abandoned.
Were UEFA to expel Inter, currently third in Serie A, from next season's competition the club would almost certainly appeal - such a ban would in effect cost the Italian club around £10million in television and prize money alone.