Juventus fans threaten to chant racist slogans if not offered free tickets

The Italian soccer world has long been struggling with a problem of racism in its stadiums.

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September 16, 2019 22:26
1 minute read.
Juventus fans threaten to chant racist slogans if not offered free tickets

A match official holds a Primo Levi book before match between Juventus and S.P.A.L at Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy, October 25, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/MASSIMO PINCA)

Italian police arrested twelve soccer ultras on several charges, including blackmailing their team by threatening to chant racist slogans if they weren’t provided with free tickets to the games, Italian media reported on Monday.

The suspects are all leaders of major ultras groups supporting the Turin-based team Juventus.

Aggravated extorsion, violence, criminal association and self-money-laundering are among the crimes the suspects are accused of.

“Either you give us the tickets, or we are going to chant racist slogans and the problem is yours,” one of them said, according to the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera.

According to Corriere, the blackmail started after Juventus suppressed some benefits offered to the ultras after the end of the 2017-2018 championship.

The team has been reporting all the episodes to the police and fully cooperating with the investigation, the report further said.

Juventus is the most successful team in the history of Italian soccer. It has won a total of 35 championships, including the last eight consecutive championships. Five Ballon d'Or award winner Cristiano Ronaldo is currently a Juventus player.

The Italian soccer world has long been struggling with a problem of racism in its stadiums. Players of color are booed continuously by the rival team fans, and antisemitic banners have often appeared on the terraces.

Earlier this year, the Italian Football Federation passed new legislation allowing the referee to suspend or terminate the match in case of discriminatory behavior by the fans. Teams can also be fined.

However, the new season, which kicked off on August 24, has already been marred by several episodes of racism.


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