President of the Italian Players’ Association Damiano Tommasi wants it made clear that fans threatening players “is not normal,” despite it becoming common.
The debate ties in with the investigation into Juventus and their rapport with the ultras, which included selling tickets that ended up fuelling touts.
“Players have become accustomed to the fact that if they play badly, it is normal to receive threats and pressure from the fans,” declared Tommasi at the Anti-Mafia Commission.
“More than half the incidents of violence and threats is from fans of their own team, who think that by paying the season ticket they can do what they want and the player has to conform to their rules.
“Another statistic is that almost half these cases occur in amateur leagues. Those who have been fortunate enough to play in other leagues will tell you all this is not normal.
“Players are too often not prepared to deal with certain things. The culmination of that was the Europa League game Roma-Fiorentina in April 2015, with players talking to the fans. We had already seen this in the Coppa Italia Final of 2014, Napoli-Fiorentina.
“Let us not forget, Napoli captain Marek Hamsik took on a role in that game that was not suited to a player.”
A Napoli fan, Ciro Esposito, was shot on his way towards the Stadio Olimpico to view the Coppa Italia Final.
The start of the match was postponed briefly while information flew round, as Hamsik went with the police under the curva to speak to ultras leaders.
“After Fiorentina-Roma we contributed to emanating new rules in the FIGC, albeit finding opposition. We wanted as a first sanction a ban on the rapport between players and fans. That would be a good deterrent.”
This sort of negotiation between fans and players is by no means new in Italy. Roma and Lazio supporters forced a derby to be abandoned when rumours - which turned out to be fake - spread about a child being run over by a police van outside the Stadio Olimpico.
Genoa ultras famously suspended a game their team was losing at home and forced the players to take off their jerseys, as they were 'unworthy' of wearing them.
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