26

Sep

6:38pm
Akash Chatterjee India
Story of Italian Football: From Black to The Red

Story of Italian Football: From Black to The Red

Akash Chatterjee India//6:38pm, Sep 26th '21

Italian Football has always been very dynamic. Football has never been a game for the 'Gentlemen' and you will realize the statement totally if you see the dynamism of this beautiful game in Italy. In Italy, soccer is known as Calcio. That includes fan gathering, violence, racial abuse, abduction and even killings. Football has always been a source of mass culture and political participation in Italy.

When we are talking about mass culture and political participation, one must utter the names of their famous/infamous clubs. For instance, let us say Napoli. A club from the Southern Part of Italy known for Diego Armando Maradona. But not only that. This club, in the 80's had been subjected to racism multiple times. I can recall, when Maradona played for the first time in Juventus' stadium he received banners where people wrote 'Napoli shit, wash yourselves' or 'Napoli the home of Cholera and Malaria'. This has always been the mentality of the Northern Part of Italy to the Southern Part

This is one point. The other point has been the Ultras. If you want to understand the connection between football and politics you have to understand their fan culture. Italian football is all about fans. In Italy, fans form several ultras groups. These groups visit the grounds with Banner Tifo and firecrackers. They do not keep the battle only for 90 minutes. But they take it to the outside of the Ground. Often indulging in serious tussles in the post 90 minute battle Italian ultras' have created an example of ruthlessness, political turbulence and mass violence.

The ultras are politically separated from one club to another. Since the 70's Italian football culture has been dominated by two sets of ultras. Black and Red. The Blacks belong to the right wing football clubs in the Country. Whereas the reds belong to the left wing football clubs in the country. Yes the Football clubs in Italy do have political orientations. Some are left, some are right.

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Take the example of Lazio. This club is historically Right Wing football club. Racial abuse, political violence, mass atrocities are very common with their fanbase. If you enter the Curva Sud( Southern Curve) of their stadium you will hear Benito Mussolini chants. Mussolini, a loyal and ardent supporter of the club. Historically this Lazio club has been patronized by his fascist party and the people.

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On the other hand, you will also find the club with the banners showing faces of Marx Lenin and Che Guevara. You will find a club that sings 'The International'. A club that does not take any corporate sponsorship till today. A.S.Livorno is the only Italian and the one of the few clubs in the world that is traditionally marxist in nature. The club is based in the Province of Tuscany. A province that has not been won by any center or the right wing parties till 2014. The Communist Party of Italy is even founded in the Livorno city. The club has its own ultrals' that often get involved in fighting with the right wingers. Especially the fight between Livorno ultras and Lazio ultras is still infamous.

Football is changing. Today Big money, corporate sponsorship are needed. Money is something the football clubs can not deny. The corporate culture in football has changed the beautiful game. Livorno is struggling. As I told you earlier, the club does not take any corporate sponsorships. Hence they do not have money. They are now in Serie D, the 4th division of the Italian football club. Serie D does not even count as the professional league in Italy.

But even in the hardest times their fans did not lose hope. Neither the club. They did not take a shift from Communism. Red Flags are still on.

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