Friday October 11 2013
Udinese and Fiorentina back Milan

Udinese and Fiorentina have supported the decision to play Milan-Udinese with a crowd, albeit as part of a suspended sentence.

The Rossoneri had been ordered to play their next Serie A home game with Udinese behind closed doors after anti-Neapolitan chants were considered ‘territorial discrimination’ and treated with the same rules as racist abuse.

This evening the Federal Court of Appeal delayed giving its verdict until there can be further consultation, so the ban is suspended.

“This is the right thing to do!” said Udinese patron Gianpaolo Pozzo on the club’s official website.

“We wanted San Siro open for Milan-Udinese because the fans are the essence of football. It’s better late than never, but I can’t help thinking of those clubs who paid beforehand with stadium or the curva closed, such as Lazio and Inter.

“We are happy to find an open stadium so we can challenge the Rossoneri on a par. I reaffirm my idea, which is to punish those who are guilty, not the clubs.”

Inter, Lazio and Roma had been penalised for racist abuse rather than that of ‘territorial discrimination,’ so Fiorentina backed the probable change in regulations.

“We need to distinguish between different forms of discrimination,” said general manager Sandro Mencucci.

“In Tuscany the local rivalries are dominant. I remember when our fans chanted to Empoli that their stadium was made by IKEA. For these mocking chants, I think the term ‘discrimination’ is excessive.

“If Fiorentina had been in Milan’s place, we too would’ve lodged an appeal. The chants were not that dramatic and I think this has all been blown out of proportion.”

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