It has become a controversy in the third Italian football division when ultras swarm the field, attack a player, and threaten him with death.
On Monday evening, during the Serie C match between Foggia and Catanzaro (2: 6) in Catanzaro, a home supporter ran towards visiting striker Pietro Iemmello just as he was about to take a penalty. While the fan was being led away, the footballer made the sign of a severed throat in the direction of Iemmello, just avoiding a punch.
The Catanzaro player never longer dared to take the penalty kick in front of Foggia’s supporter section after that. He used to play for the Puglia club, but since departing, he’s been despised there. When the tension in the fans worsened and bottles and firecrackers were initially hurled into the penalty area, the 30-year-old had already scored two goals against his former club in the first half and then won the – perhaps dubious – penalty kick.
Iemmello was substituted as another fan stormed the ground, according to media accounts, and went into the locker room crying. The family man was escorted out of the stadium by authorities.
The events, which “do great damage to the whole of football,” were harshly condemned by the league. On Tuesday, Foggia President Nicola Canonico apologized to fans all around Italy. (dpa)