Nocerina fans deny player threats
Fans of Italian third tier side Nocerina have denied intimidating and threatening their own players at Salernitana on Sunday -- a game from which Nocerina fans had been banned from travelling.
The local derby was abandoned after five Nocerina players left the field with injuries with all three substitutions having been made in the opening two minutes of the match at the Stadio Arechi in Salerno.
The game had started after a 40-minute delay as Nocerina refused to take to the field, and the finger has been pointed at the Nocerina Ultras who were accused of threatening the players, warning them not to take part in the game since they had been banned from travelling to it.
However, after celebrating in the city of Nocera following the news of the game's abandonment, they have claimed to have done nothing wrong.
"We did not threaten anybody from our club," a statement on the forzanocerina.it fans' site said.
"In fact, all we did was simply ask the coach and our lads, after a series of peaceful meetings, that by making an extraordinary gesture which would get the whole of Italy talking about us, and which would shake up the whole system, they would be giving voice to the injustice we had suffered.
"Our whole city has been discriminated against by banning us from travelling to the Stadio Arechi, and now it is the Nocerina fans who are being branded by the national press as violent hooligans and Mafiosi.
"All we were asking for was an act of solidarity, a civil protest. Had we really wanted to be violent, we would have travelled to Salerno in spite of the ban.
"All of the media who claim the opposite should ask the Nocerina employees directly, from whom we expect some form of announcement at least to remove any doubt about the accusations being levelled at us."
The statement concluded by saying that "unfortunately, it's all too easy to throw mud at the Ultras rather than accepting an inconvenient truth".