Sunday May 4 2014
FIGC: 'Football is a victim'

FIGC President Giancarlo Abete warned “football is a victim as ultras have an unacceptable role in some stadiums.”

Last night’s Coppa Italia Final between Napoli and Fiorentina was delayed by 45 minutes after a Partenopei fan was shot by what it later emerged was a Roma ultra.

The game only went ahead after police, local authorities and captain Marek Hamsik negotiated with the leaders of the Napoli ultras in the Stadio Olimpico.

“It was a very difficult night because the news, especially before the game, kept coming and were often contradictory,” said Federation President Abete to news agency Ansa.

“Honestly, it was tough to understand what had happened. There were some situations linked to an emotional issue and it all reminded me of another game a few years ago, when the tension grew and grew until it was difficult to govern.”

Abete was referring to the 2004 Rome Derby, which was halted at half-time by Roma ultras who went to tell Francesco Totti he couldn’t continue. There were rumours – later unfounded – that a child had been run over and killed by a police van outside the stadium.

It has now emerged one of those fans ordering Totti not to play was Daniele De Santis, the 48-year-old shooter who attacked the Napoli supporters last night.

“I heard that the game was given the go-ahead after the ultras leaders consulted between themselves,” continued Abete.

“There was a very difficult situation to deal with, even during the game, as a section of the Napoli fans effectively didn’t cheer at all.

“On the sporting level there was no problem that would make us think we couldn’t play. The only people in a stadium who are capable of calling off a game are those responsible for public order.

“Right from when the national anthem was jeered, you could tell perfectly well what type of tension there was.

“Football is a victim of situations that go beyond the sport. The ultras use stadiums to manifest their power. It’s a simple fact: in some stadiums the ultras have an unacceptable role.”