Juventus fans threaten violence

Various worrying stories are circulating in the press right now about threats of "revenge" by Juventus supporters against Liverpool supporters next week. The two teams meet for the second leg of the Champions League quarter final on Wednesday.

Liverpool made great efforts to promote "friendship" prior to the game at Anfield – this however wasn’t accepted by all of the Juve fans present at the game. A section of them were seen to turn their backs and make "obscene gestures" during the pre-match ceremony, when banners and mosaics were shown to the Juve supporters.

An article in the times today (available here) talked about threats alleged to have been made by Juventus "ultras" on the internet. The article, by Oliver Kay, includes the following paragraph:

"The reactions of that hard-line element among the Turin club’s followers have increased Liverpool’s concerns about the safety of their supporters on Wednesday. No public comment was made on the matter yesterday, but club officials are known to be worried about the threats of violence that have been made on websites by Juventus “ultras”. These messages carried threats to “break the bones of the red animals”. One of them read: “I want to see them covered in their own blood.”"

The Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport felt the threat was so great that it actually went to the lengths of publishing a front-page editorial saying that the gesture and behaviour on Tuesday was "uncivilized". "The pain of memory can’t be nourished by anger and resentment," the article went on. You can read the full article here (in Italian):


Juve fans response to Liverpool peace efforts
I gesti vergognosi dei tifosi juventini ad Anfield (Obscene gestures from Juventus fans at Anfield)

According to a report from the Associated Press, Turin police monitored a message saying "It’s time for revenge."

The reports say that at least 4,000 Liverpool fans are going to travel to Turin – but there’s concern that many of them will have bought tickets on the internet for seats in sections reserved for Juve supporters.

The Juventus defender Fabio Cannavaro, scorer of the Juve goal, spoke out to say that Juve’s fans should learn from the example of the Liverpool fans.

The deputy chief executive of UEFA, Markus Studer praised Liverpool’s efforts, saying, “Liverpool must be applauded for the way they handled the arrangements and the fans of both clubs understood the message. There was not a hint of trouble in the stadium. It was a very successful night for European football.”

It’s very unusual these days to see crowd trouble at matches in England, but there is regularly talk of trouble outside the grounds. This talk tends to be rumour rather than anything reported officially. In Europe though scenes are very different – there seem to be more incidents happening in the stadiums of Italy and Spain, yet this seems to go unpunished.