Torino-Inter nearly suspended
Torino’s 3-3 draw at home to Inter Milan on Sunday risked being suspended as visiting fans put strict rules on discrimination to the test.
• Wilson: Tough draw
Showing solidarity with their rivals AC Milan, who were due to stage their 1-0 win over Udinese behind closed doors at the San Siro on Saturday before that punishment was overturned, Inter supporters expressed the kind of discriminatory language which has been the subject of such contention in recent weeks.
While nobody is questioning Italian football’s attempts to stamp out racism, it is the restrictions on territorial discrimination that has caused uproar.
Milan’s fans were being punished for repeating the now-traditional expletives aimed at Napoli supporters due to the Campania city’s geographical location.
Only an appeal by the Rossoneri and widespread disillusionment of the stadium ban brought about a rethink, but Inter fans wanted to test the Lega Serie A’s patience at Turin’s Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.
The usual chant of “burn the city down” and other derogatory remarks towards a group of supporters were heard repeatedly from the visiting fans’ section.
However, the Inter supporters were in fact insulting themselves. Milan was the city they wanted to burn and the Interisti were the fans not worth consideration, yet an announcement still had to be made warning them to stop, or else the game would be suspended.
Rival clubs and their followers were also given short thrift by the Inter fans, justifying the intervention by the fourth official, who called for the announcement.
But with punishments running from partial to full stadium closures, and forfeited games and points deductions, rather than being discouraged from such insults, fans now appear to have been empowered with deciding the destiny of the 2013-14 Serie A title.
As Milan’s vice-president Adriano Galliani succinctly put it, he and a group of friends could infiltrate into any ground and shout defamatory remarks to earn that club a punishment.
If the 2006 Calciopoli scandal was all about influencing the choice of referees and trying to fabricate suspensions of players to ease certain teams’ paths to success, 2013-14 risks seeing fans influence the suspension of grounds, and the distribution and deduction of points for a similar scope.