Sunday March 17 2013
One man's insult...

After Antonio Conte was berated for celebrating, Susy Campanale decided to explain the unique Italian mentality around sport.

It is fascinating watching a game with commentary from different countries. You realise how many nuances there are in the Italian approach to sport, the concept of ‘respect’ and ‘fair play.’ There are some issues that Italians and the British have fundamentally opposing views on – and I don’t just mean grappling in the penalty area. Antonio Conte’s celebrations at the Dall’Ara were a case in point.

Before the final whistle had even been blown on a 2-0 victory, Juventus Coach Conte was pumping his fist to get the crowd going, shouting ‘Andiamo!’ (Let’s go) and blowing kisses into the television cameras. It was a marvellous performance, one lapped up by Juve fans in the stadium (of which there were 10,000) and at home. Bologna boss Stefano Pioli was furious and went over to berate Conte and his staff for “lacking respect” towards his team. You may well argue such a reaction was daft – and it was – but it’s not the first time I’ve seen it.

People wonder why Italian teams always stop playing when they have a fairly comfortable lead, often turning out to be not all that comfortable come the final minutes of the match. It is not because they are conditioned to think defensively and sit on a lead to protect what they have. It’s simply a sign of ‘respect’ towards the opposition. They’ve made their point, they have the win, there’s no need to humiliate anyone. This is why Fiorentina could’ve easily scored another two or three when beating Inter 4-1, but opted to just pass it about in midfield for 15 minutes instead. It’s considered rude to rub it in.

When someone does break that unwritten code of respect, it gets extremely ugly. Catania players and even directors got into a brawl with Roma when they were beaten 7-0 at the Olimpico, insisting such a heavy loss was “unnecessary” when the points were already under lock and key. Would it not be equally insulting to know the opposition is taking pity on you by holding back because you are so clearly inferior?

Dear commentators, no longer despair when Italian teams rush to put the ball out of play when someone is down injured. It doesn’t matter that the rules state the referee should choose when to stop play, for in Italy anyone who carries on is considered a cruel, heartless cheat. I have seen Coaches like Francesco Guidolin of Udinese and Genoa’s Davide Ballardini scream themselves hoarse on the touchline, angrily shouting at their own players to put the ball out. Ballardini even got sent off when the referee mistakenly thought the furious outburst was aimed at him rather than the Genoa squad. It is also why when a player carries on and the whistle is eventually blown, a brawl tends to break out with everyone hurling insults and shoving the ‘disrespectful’ figure who has violated the code of fair play.

It’s remarkable, therefore, that other things are considered to be acceptable in Italian sport. The racism problem in Serie A is part of a wider approach fans have to their opponents – they are the enemy and any insult is fair game. Fans who idolise their own black players will make monkey noises at the opposition, because somehow that makes sense in their little brains. I recently saw abuse aimed at Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini, who had collapsed and died during a game. Every time Fiorentina play Juventus, there are banners referencing Heysel.

Team buses arriving for an away game are often pelted with objects, including rocks, and in Italy people are just used to it. That’s the way it is. Racist abuse is met with fines and utterly empty threats, because they are resigned to it happening. Yes, even the wrestling matches in the box are allowed because ‘if you give that, you’ll end up awarding 10 penalties per game.’ Try awarding 10 per game and they might stop doing it! Actually impose bans like UEFA have on Lazio and perhaps the rest of the ultras will be motivated enough to throw out the ones consistently making racist chants.

Amid all that, do we really want to stamp out celebrations? It’s bad enough we still have that stupid rule where players are booked for taking their shirts off after a goal. It’s a sport, you are supposed to celebrate and enjoy success! Go on Conte, giz a kiss.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
Inter won the title and the Champions league with 2 Italians on the field (Fact)
Serie A was not the same without Juve and more people watched Serie B that year (Fact)
Juve fans had to suffer for seven years to win the title again (Fact)
Controversy in the world will always exist to a greater degree in Italy (Fact)

End of Part 2
on the 18th March, 2013 at 3:28am
Dear Juve Lovers & Juve haters,

please allow me to share with you some facts:

Juve has won the title more than any other club (Fact)
Juve is the most popular club in Italy (Fact)
Juve is one of the most prestigious clubs in the world (Fact)
Juve is like Real Madrid, Man U, Barcelona…. Where a draw is a loss (Fact)
Juve is the only Italian team that its starting line up is dominated by Italians (Fact)

End of Part one
on the 18th March, 2013 at 3:27am
As a Napoli supporter, and a Juve AND Conte HATER, I must say that I have conceeded Napoli's scudetto hopes with last weeks loss to Chievo Their win on Saturday put the icing on the cake for the scudetto, no matter what Napoli did this afternoon. And as much as I don't like Conte, I don't take his jubilation as an insult. He is a happy man and I'd expect the same reaction out of Mazzarri. Was it a bit pre-mature? Maybe. But his 2nd title in two tries is staring him in the face. Fact!!!
on the 17th March, 2013 at 11:52pm
@ Jack, beautifully put my friend. Forza Juve!
on the 17th March, 2013 at 11:41pm
Also I think people like tamasef above must only watch football once a month or so and have no idea of the game I don't understand why they comment please go elsewhere
on the 17th March, 2013 at 10:20pm

I hope you can't sleep and you dream about it...
And when you dream I hope you can't sleep and you scream about it...
I hope your conscience eats at you and you can't breathe without it...

You gotta call me man, I'll be the biggest fan you'll ever lose

Sincerely yours, Hater

I should be a juve fans too
on the 17th March, 2013 at 10:16pm
Conte is amazing juve is amazing! and unfortunately Italians have to grow and learn from other countries as football is becoming a war just as conte said too much envy and hatred instead one must applaud this juve that without spending millions and full of Italian players is back to top also in Europe great job forza juve now let's insert some stars and stay at the top for 10 years
on the 17th March, 2013 at 10:11pm
giuseppe. go for the secondary school and take conte with you please. many words are here about jealousy here but in fact is about smth more. conte is right that they are not disliked but hated. apart of winning they are doing smth wrong. you cannot see or feel it when watching lazio, inter, fiorentina or roma.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 10:10pm
Hey Haters,

How about Mazzari taking a morning walk-like at the San Paolo ?

Was that respectful? Or a guy celebrating his winning or reacting to insults by firing up his men? Which is respectful and which is not? Simple English for those who understands English.

Again, haters be haters.

Forza Conte & Juve !
on the 17th March, 2013 at 9:52pm
Dear Mr. Conte, we have a question for you !

Q: What the heck have you done to us ?


HATERS BE HATERS ! Conte is kicking all of your butts around and winning. It must be eating everybody from the inside out.

on the 17th March, 2013 at 9:44pm
@ Al

Can we stick ourselves? Ok, we will, but what in the blue hell does that mean ?
on the 17th March, 2013 at 9:39pm
@ AL are you bitter much mate forza juve
on the 17th March, 2013 at 7:50pm
tamasef - I think you shouldn't watch Juve games if you are so disturbed of the great aggressor Conte. Whooooo, he is soo scary! He can kill with his eyes!! Check for him under your bad before going to sleep, or even better - watch figure skating instead of Serie A.
Also 'everybody' in your dictionary must mean you and other jealous haters who are supporting teams that are inferior to Juve. Sour grapes...
on the 17th March, 2013 at 7:30pm
What's with all this fuss??? This happens all the time - week and week out. Remember Mourinho's slide after Real's third goal against Man City. This weekend it was David Moyes who ran on to the field celebrating after Everton's second goal against Man City (again).

Pioli should have accepted the loss by analyzing what happened on the pitch. Everyone who criticizes Conte are just jealous. After all it's human nature to look at your neighbor over the fence.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 7:08pm
phew .....few jealous tifosi on here ,juve are the best team by a mile ,grow a set and except the facts
on the 17th March, 2013 at 6:56pm
Everybody can see him and his players playing the most unfair football in Serie A cheating, faking, provoking… I am not surprised those close ups showing him and his team can upset the supporters of the opposite team.
That is the true reason why so many dislike him or even hate him.
He is talking about aggression but his is the one who is adding a big amount of it to football in Italy.
I hope it is not just another of his hysteric comments and he will leave the country indeed.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 6:20pm
He talks about only sports and complains about aggression. We are not talking about the lack of class, it is something more. The man is full of nerves himself, just one look at him rushing, swearing, sometimes even threatening referees. Sometimes seeing his face with a look that would kill and his reactions I just think there should be a cave isolating him from the rest of the world, just in case. You know, nowadays we have perfect close ups.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 6:20pm
@ Tom

Your illiterate, grammatically weak, moronic rant is just pathetic. Get your facts straight and acknowledge the truth before your lazy, predictable anti-Juventus comments. The new Calcopoli wire-tape evidence proved that Inter were guilty of "sporting fraud" and Juventus were guilty of nothing more than "unsporting behaviour". If the evidence hadn't been buried till the statue of limitations had expired, then Inter would have been banished and not allowed to win all their fake titles.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 6:13pm
Juve fans can go stick themselves? Yep you are what Susy was talking about. What is so hard to understand about this concept? The fan mentality in Italy is so disgusting. As a Juventus fan I respect all opponent teams. Racism is rewarded with fines. Everyone applauded Boetang when he walked off the pitch of that match and he said he would do it in a regular match. The fact is in a regular match he did not do it. It's the only way to make these lesser minds catch up with the rest of the world.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 5:24pm
I now see why many of you choose to remain anonymous, because of the nonsense which you speak
on the 17th March, 2013 at 4:27pm
To all you sore losers, either go hard or go home... making silly excuses for your teams weak and pathetic performances... When you win or you are winning you celebrate, if you are not suppose to celebrate before the final whistle the you should not celebrate after you score? It is better to be arrogant and right than humble and wrong... Forza Juve... Forza Italia
on the 17th March, 2013 at 4:24pm
I don't know, but this article feels like a Pollyanna way of seeing the Italian game. If "respect" and "fair play" are intrinsic in Serie A, then why does Napoli play like a fight club, and why are the refs so heavy on the whistle? Rarely does a game play for three minutes straight without the ref stopping it for some foul play. I guess respect and fair play are in the eyes of the beholder. My eyes don't see either.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 4:23pm
Before the game Conte has praised Bologna and called Pioli a great coach.
After the game he went to him to shake hands.
Even if it wasn't obvious he has sent the 2 kisses to her little daughter. Yeah, he should be surely crucified for such act.
Also some celebration with the fans after a big step to the 2nd consecutive Scudetto is truly unacceptable...
on the 17th March, 2013 at 3:24pm
Typical Milan fan Susy trying to throw in a dig at Inter, Barca showed you no respect maybe that is why this topic is so dear lol
on the 17th March, 2013 at 2:50pm
Conte's celebrations, while harmless were unnecessary. Especially the kiss to the camera. Sure, there are much more serious problems in the Italian game, but I wish Conte would stick to a classy and understated display in public.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 2:17pm
Salutate la CAPOLISTA!!
Have a good day haters. Maybe next year? Hahahahaha
on the 17th March, 2013 at 2:08pm
To all those making deragatory remarks towards Juve. Keep on being jealous. Given Juve's history of ongoing success, you will be jealous for a long time.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 1:48pm
This is clever from Conte, it was purely all psychological. It was a message to the rest of Serie A and European football that Juventus are in good shape and ready for the final and most important part of the season. It was a Mourinho-esque action from Conte and he knew it would cause this type of reaction. But it is also obvious that Juve are in good form at the moment and are up for the fight.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 1:29pm
Clearly a lot of people want to run Conte out of Italy.

Attacks on the bus; he can't sit in the stands; he can't go to a stadium; has to hide in the commentary box; he is constantly harassed by "sporting authorities"; on and on.

Envy of Juve's success is rampant in Serie A and the whole farce of calciopoli was really all about that. But with Conte, it seems personal and it looks like they may get their wish and run him off.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 1:16pm
Conte is the Alex Fergusson of Serie A, is he truly surprised people want to throw rocks and sticks. Arrogant ladri.
on the 17th March, 2013 at 12:21pm

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