American stabbed in Rome before Champions final

ROME Wed May 27, 2009 9:01am EDT

Officers from the Greater Manchester Police Force patrol with an Italian policeman (C) at the Spanish Steps area in Rome May 26, 2009. Manchester United will face Barcelona in the Champions League final soccer match in Rome on May 27. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Officers from the Greater Manchester Police Force patrol with an Italian policeman (C) at the Spanish Steps area in Rome May 26, 2009. Manchester United will face Barcelona in the Champions League final soccer match in Rome on May 27.

Credit: Reuters/Remo Casilli

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ROME (Reuters) - Two men, including an American mistaken for an English fan, were stabbed and eight others arrested before Wednesday's Champions League soccer final between Barcelona and Manchester United in Rome, police said.

Briton Greg Whedon, 34, was assaulted and stabbed in his left leg outside his hotel Wednesday. Four Italians stabbed a 23-year old American during the night after assuming he was British when he spoke to them in English.

"He was found on the ground, bloody and screaming in English, with four people on top hitting and stabbing him with a knife," police said.

The four Italians were arrested.

Elsewhere, a 19-year old British fan and his father were arrested outside a bar overnight for hitting two policemen who had intervened to stop a brawl, police said.

Two other Britons were arrested for paying a 300-euro dinner bill at the upscale Cafe de Paris restaurant on Via Veneto with fake banknotes, police said.

Thousands of fans have descended on Rome for the final, and authorities have banned alcohol sales in the city center before the game.

(Reporting by Illaria Polleschi, Writing by Deepa Babington; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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