Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Always causing trouble...

The Napoletani, that is. Having been officially banned from the Meazza last time out, though with dubious impact as reported by my trusty Milan correspondant, away fans are also banned from the Olimpico for the Roma-Napoli match on Saturday evening. This on top of a home ban in their match against Genoa. In fact there are major concerns about Saturday from the police and from Roma officials: if 1000 Napoletani managed to be present at Inter, how many more are going to turn up here, so much closer? Consensus among Romanisti seems to be that this measure may prevent the organised groups turning up but will do little to prevent large numbers arriving 'informally'. And in all likelihood - as happened at the Meazza, and last year at the Olimpico when some 8000 ticketless Catania fans arrived - they will be let in and arranged somehow or other in order to prevent worse. Since the next home game for us is the derby, and everyone is desperate to risk any kind of ban arising, even the more lunatic fringe is sounding a note of caution. But Il Tempo, the regional newspaper, has been talking about up to 8000 of them arriving. Meetings between the club and the authorities are still ongoing, and the precise details of the situation are unclear. To the best of my knowledge, tickets are still to go on sale, and it may end up being season ticket holders only.

Meanwhile Napoli have caused plenty of trouble of another kind for the Inter ultras. For the first time, the Giudice Sportivo, the sporting justice department which allocates bans and suspensions, has exercised its right to suspend a curva. The punishment has been imposed on Inter after the behaviour of the ultras there during the Napoli game. In the past, clubs have been punished for fans' behaviour with fines; or if there was violence, or safety concerns, then games have been played behind closed doors or at neutral grounds. Here the giudice has punished, essentially, only the ultras, and not for violence but for racism.

Perhaps they're just highlighting the shocking state of the healthcare infrastructure in the South and appealing for greater attention to their fellow citizens' plight.

Or not. The judge decided they were in controvention of the anti-racism regulations which cover territorial discrimination [it would be hard to disagree] and observing that the offensive singing and slogans were limited to one sector of the ground - that is, the upper tier of the Curva Nord, where the ultras stand - has punished that sector. What to do for the Inter ultras? They've spent enough time protesting and emptying their own stand in the past. Will they protest outside, or buy tickets elsewhere? Still, good work, it's about time someone started to get tough on prejudice in Italian football. Now let's have more of the same next time there are monkey noises, please.

Ah yes, one other thing. I thought all striscioni were supposed to be authorised by the police one week beforehand via fax, and then only admitted two hours before kick off after careful inspection? Now since I very much doubt that either of the banners pictured were smuggled in folded up in someone's back pocket, either 1) that's exactly what happened and the Milanese police share the ultras' rather dubious sense of humour; or 2) (brace yourselves here) the law is not being enforced. I hope you're sitting down. Ah, it couldn't be that the law is an unenforceable piece of tripe rushed through in a knee-jerk festival of idiocy, could it? surely not.


ursus arctos said...

Unenforceable Law Not Being Enforced shock!

As usual, you got it in one; the most interesting question here is how the Nord will react. They had already been the most rigourous Curva in Italy in conducting a "tifo strike" in protest at the rules themselves (there hasn't been one since the SuperCoppa) and banners and flags have effectively disappeared from that part of the ground (as a result, it has lost virtually all of its colour).

My uninformed guess is that they will choose to protest outside the ground, as much of the rest of the Meazza is occupied by season ticket holders and/or will be put off limits (the lower ring of the Curva Sud, the traditional "away" section, has either been empty or filled with kids on free tickets for most of the season, and I would expect the same against Genoa.)

BTW, "Milano correspondent" please. Any indication of Rossonero tendencies (no matter how unintended) runs the risk of me getting turfed out of our flat by my rabidly Interista son.

ginkers said...

I find it intriguing the measures that are being taken and how decisions are made. To say it seems a bit random would be an understatement.

It is always a shame to see away fans banned from the ground like at the recent Fiorentina v Juve game. They give extra atmosphere but, I guess, safety is the most important thing.

So, you naughty Romanisti, make sure you behave this weekend.

ursus arctos said...

After consulting with the Interior Ministry, the Prefect has just announced that Roma-Napoli will be restricted to season ticket holders only.

Spangles, am I right in thinking that that could well lead to trouble outside the Olimpico early Saturday evening?

And Ginkers, yes, any attempt to superimpose a rational framework on these decisions is an exercise in frustration.

Spangly Princess said...

ginkers, random is about the word. And I wouldn't mind, if these measures did actually achieve some safety. But as violence seems to continue, it suggests a new approach is needed.

Ursus, I do hope you are wrong. But I fear you may not be. After what happened last week it was always likely that this type of measure might be introduced. And with the derby coming up we cant afford to risk anything. But the ultra messageboards are Not Happy about this one. I expect there to be lots of ticketless fans of both clubs around. And a number will get in.

Antonio G said...

If calling Neapolitans "colerosi" is racist, doesn't that imply that the Italian judicial system believes that Milanese and Napolitani are actually of different races?

I'm not sure, if I were Napolitano, that I would consider this judgment a victory.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't have to be racist, Gramsci.

Merely tending to incite antipathy on the basis of racial, political, religious or territorial differences (I don't have the exact provision to hand, but that is the gist, with "territorial" a direct quote).

And I bet they aren't Milanesi. Much more likely to be Brianzoli or Bergamaschi.

Spangly Princess said...

This is something a lot of non-Italians have asked me: how is it racist to be prejudiced against Southerners.

Firstly, as anonymously noted, the law covers 'any kind of racial or territorial discrimination'. They read this out and put it on the big screens every game.

Secondly, I think you can make a good argument for anti-southern feeling as racism. There is some stuff about the (supposed) physical characteristics of southerners, such as skin-colour, height, hairyness. (My delightful Milanese grandmother, on her daughter's engagement to a Sardinian: "Oh My God! the children will be monkeys!")

Of course as well as the supposed physical stuff there are stereotypes about education, intelligence, ability to speak a 'proper' language etc. I have Southern friends who have been refused service in caf├Ęs in the Trentino on the basis of their accent.

Then there is the mixture of what would more normally be acknowledged as racism in with anti-Napoletano-ism.

The classic song sung at Napoli fans goes:

Smell what a stench, even dogs flee /
The Neapolitans are arriving /
O cholera and earthquake-afflicted /
You've never seen soap in your lives /
Napoli are shit, Napoli [have]cholera /
you're the shame of all Italy, /
Neapolitan, dirty African /
Sooner or later we'll stab you.

I think that's pretty straight- forwardly racist myself.

Antonio G said...

If "racist" specifically covers territory as well as skin colour (which I hadn't understood to be the case), I suppose that's true. But that must be the first anti-racism law ever to include territoriality as a category. Can anyone think of any others?

Richard said...

Naively, I'd imagined that calciofili could take some solace from the fact that the authorities were doing *something*, even if was incoherent and ill-thought-through. It seems not.

When I read John Foot's Calcio last summer, I was struck by the fact that violence and calcio go so far back. He writes about incidents in the 1920 (I believe).

I wonder how Serie A accommodated the ultras during the golden era of the late 80s/early 90s? No doubt there were problems with violence back then, but the stadiums were full and the reputation of Serie A was much more favourable.

I have always disliked the hurling of insults at Napoletani. I bet they enjoyed those two scudetti in the late 80s.

Aussie Romanista said...

This stuff shits me about Italy. In Australia there's a bit of east coast v west coast but it's mostly restricted to Aussie Rules Football, and it's generally in jest, not racist. But in Italy they mean it and some crazy idiots will stab you for it. It's pathetic. Without Napoli we wouldn't have Fabio Cannavaro, therefore we wouldn't have won the world cup. No Quagliarella scoring 2 rippers against (Lithuania was it?), no Di Natale.... plus quality artists like Gigi D'Alessio, Renzo Arbore are two which come to mind, the list goes on. That's how I think.
The city needs a major clean up though. And if you've made the train trip between Napoli and Salerno then no doubt you've seen why the north thinks that way of Napoletani.