BLOG ITALIA
Sunday March 17 2013
One man's insult...

After Antonio Conte was berated for celebrating, Susy Campanale decided to explain the unique Italian mentality around sport.

It is fascinating watching a game with commentary from different countries. You realise how many nuances there are in the Italian approach to sport, the concept of ‘respect’ and ‘fair play.’ There are some issues that Italians and the British have fundamentally opposing views on – and I don’t just mean grappling in the penalty area. Antonio Conte’s celebrations at the Dall’Ara were a case in point.

Before the final whistle had even been blown on a 2-0 victory, Juventus Coach Conte was pumping his fist to get the crowd going, shouting ‘Andiamo!’ (Let’s go) and blowing kisses into the television cameras. It was a marvellous performance, one lapped up by Juve fans in the stadium (of which there were 10,000) and at home. Bologna boss Stefano Pioli was furious and went over to berate Conte and his staff for “lacking respect” towards his team. You may well argue such a reaction was daft – and it was – but it’s not the first time I’ve seen it.

People wonder why Italian teams always stop playing when they have a fairly comfortable lead, often turning out to be not all that comfortable come the final minutes of the match. It is not because they are conditioned to think defensively and sit on a lead to protect what they have. It’s simply a sign of ‘respect’ towards the opposition. They’ve made their point, they have the win, there’s no need to humiliate anyone. This is why Fiorentina could’ve easily scored another two or three when beating Inter 4-1, but opted to just pass it about in midfield for 15 minutes instead. It’s considered rude to rub it in.

When someone does break that unwritten code of respect, it gets extremely ugly. Catania players and even directors got into a brawl with Roma when they were beaten 7-0 at the Olimpico, insisting such a heavy loss was “unnecessary” when the points were already under lock and key. Would it not be equally insulting to know the opposition is taking pity on you by holding back because you are so clearly inferior?

Dear commentators, no longer despair when Italian teams rush to put the ball out of play when someone is down injured. It doesn’t matter that the rules state the referee should choose when to stop play, for in Italy anyone who carries on is considered a cruel, heartless cheat. I have seen Coaches like Francesco Guidolin of Udinese and Genoa’s Davide Ballardini scream themselves hoarse on the touchline, angrily shouting at their own players to put the ball out. Ballardini even got sent off when the referee mistakenly thought the furious outburst was aimed at him rather than the Genoa squad. It is also why when a player carries on and the whistle is eventually blown, a brawl tends to break out with everyone hurling insults and shoving the ‘disrespectful’ figure who has violated the code of fair play.

It’s remarkable, therefore, that other things are considered to be acceptable in Italian sport. The racism problem in Serie A is part of a wider approach fans have to their opponents – they are the enemy and any insult is fair game. Fans who idolise their own black players will make monkey noises at the opposition, because somehow that makes sense in their little brains. I recently saw abuse aimed at Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini, who had collapsed and died during a game. Every time Fiorentina play Juventus, there are banners referencing Heysel.

Team buses arriving for an away game are often pelted with objects, including rocks, and in Italy people are just used to it. That’s the way it is. Racist abuse is met with fines and utterly empty threats, because they are resigned to it happening. Yes, even the wrestling matches in the box are allowed because ‘if you give that, you’ll end up awarding 10 penalties per game.’ Try awarding 10 per game and they might stop doing it! Actually impose bans like UEFA have on Lazio and perhaps the rest of the ultras will be motivated enough to throw out the ones consistently making racist chants.

Amid all that, do we really want to stamp out celebrations? It’s bad enough we still have that stupid rule where players are booked for taking their shirts off after a goal. It’s a sport, you are supposed to celebrate and enjoy success! Go on Conte, giz a kiss.

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Have your say...
You have the racism part backwards, they wont idolise their own players and attack opposing players. The racism is far more often a case of "get out of our club" aimed by certain supporters at their own players. The other extreme cases such as heysel banners etc are just looking to upset someone. Its important to remember that these fans, called ultras, are a tiny segment of the fans overall and you only really see certain clubs(inter milan, fiorentina, napoli) kicking up major trouble.
on the 8th April, 2013 at 7:49pm
Tomasso is that you???
on the 28th March, 2013 at 6:45pm
Charles - no one said anything to Mourinho when he celebrated like an animal because that type of behavior is expected from a Portuguese person, Italians aren't raised that way. THINK like an ADULT.

FORZA NAPOLI!
on the 28th March, 2013 at 2:41am
Tom, there's a wonderful part in your post in which you state, and I quote:
"Juventus won scudettos, and Inter didn't".

Thank you for clarifying that for us all.
on the 24th March, 2013 at 6:18pm
Tom - you are hilarious. As is evidently clear and has been repeatedly explained to you, a legal loophole means Inter avoided punishment for the evidence which Palazzi collated. If anything Inter's crime is worst as they cheated and got away with it... No one is disputing that Juve were found guilty. We understand that. We didn't need you to tell us that. But your Calciopoli understanding is limited.
on the 21st March, 2013 at 1:05pm
I repeat Inter have not been found guilty of anything. The reports referred to by so posters are refuted by inter. the fact that they cant be tested in court doesn't make inter guilty. juve have been found guilty. i remember watching matches where critical decisions went against inter and critical decisions for juventus. lets not forget juve won cudettos and inter didn't. juve have been found guilty and are therefore cheats. no one can deny this claim. you cant deflect this by pointing at inter.
on the 21st March, 2013 at 10:03am
Tom - you just keep underlining your ignorance. Ever heard of Palazzi?
on the 20th March, 2013 at 12:55pm
@Luciano

can you the learned one inform me who found inter guilty. juve, moggi, some juve lackie , you or maybe the judicial system.
on the 20th March, 2013 at 11:43am
@Luciano, somehow the permalink you posted lost about 3 chars, here's a shorter one. http://bit.ly/k4sTZL

@Tom, inter have not been found guilty of anything? read this ( http://bit.ly/SFxeOW ) and say that again to Palazzi.
on the 20th March, 2013 at 11:33am
Tom, you're ignorant. Inter were found guilty of sporting fraud and were salvaged by the statute of limitations (la prescrizione).

Any google search will yield the same link or literature as found below and everyone knows this. Your revisionist history may work in an inter forum but your ignorance is inexcusable here. Thanks.

http://www.repubblica.it/sport/calcio/2011/07/04/news/calciopoli_2006_in...
on the 20th March, 2013 at 1:20am
@Tom, for you Chiellini is a cheat because he is from Juve while Materazzi is messiah as he is from Inter. Truth is your kind of attitude and cynical actions, pushed once most glittering football league behind the Germans.
on the 19th March, 2013 at 6:45pm
inter have not been found guilty of anything. juve has. those are the facts. the rest is juve hyperbole to detract attention from is corrupt practices. when a player puts on the international jumper he is representing Italy and not juve. players are the last people to blame for the corrupt practices of a club. however I find it distasteful that a player like chielline plays for itay. a cheat which brings the game into disrepute ever time he takes the field.
on the 19th March, 2013 at 9:40am
The technicality that prevented Inter from being punished was that the evidence was buried. They were the real criminals of Calcopoli and one day they will be punished and we will wave them goodbye and forget all about them and there disgraceful owner. Justice will out.
on the 19th March, 2013 at 4:04am
I think what’s happening in sport is a microcosm of the degradation on civil society in general. You must realize how absolutely absurd on this side of the pond to see the blatant racism, crudeness, violence. Not even in the most racist fever swamps of southern Alabama would you see such public displays of racism or violence. Not because they’re more enlightened, but primarily because there are real consequences, legally, not to to mention the broader culture won’t tolerate it.
on the 18th March, 2013 at 7:03pm
this pioli (or what ever hiss name is) complain is so childish. if celebration style is really matter,know this. there was mourinho in serieA, n that dude is so "full expression". even with his gestures that shows disrespect to opponent.
but no one complaint.
now, because he's conte, juve coach,
so, a fist in the air(this is a common cellebration act) and kiss to d camera (kiss a camera hurt u that bad?), and it's too much?
weirdo. grow up, pioli... grow up
on the 18th March, 2013 at 5:22pm
@tom, so you're an Interista eh? Just keep your eyes open, not only Inter will hand over the Scudetti, but they will also be relegated to C2, just keep your eyes open.
on the 18th March, 2013 at 2:25pm
There is something deeply & utterly wrong with our society today, that a simple celebration of victory can be considered offensive to a person. So much so that the incident has managed to earn it self a blog. All the while Team buses get attacked, nazi salutes & monkey chants are largely left unaddressed.

After reading all the comments on this blog I'm sure that this blog has amassed more responses than any anti racist blog ever written on this site.

The word, "Hate" doesn't belong in sport!
on the 18th March, 2013 at 1:38pm
Conte, celebrate away; you deserve it!
A fact remains that whenever Juventus have had a strong team, the Italian national team has been strong. Juve always contribute strongly to La Nazionale...Unlike Inter who in their dominant period contributed Argentinians and Brazilians.
Let's not forget that many players in the 2006 'cheating' Juve team went on to the win the World Cup. I'll bet you Interisti celebrated with them then...no?
This Juve is strengthening Italy yet again.
on the 18th March, 2013 at 12:24pm
Anonymous, you're right. Inter were factually found and proven guilty, but were left unpunished because of a technicality (il prescrizione)
on the 18th March, 2013 at 12:02pm
amazing, what a topic! Peace and love for everybody!
on the 18th March, 2013 at 11:34am
Aussie rob,I saw ur comment,and I must say that it's very senseless of u to evalute racism in the way u did.are u aware that u are justifying racism in football by saying that it is done in good spirits?racism can never and should never be excused with a comment like "it is done in good spirits". Aussie rob, please be very careful, and make sure u put on ur thinking hat before u make comments on this blog.thank you. Forza italia
on the 18th March, 2013 at 10:57am
I completely agree with you!
Pioli has shown perfectly the hypocrisy in Italian football!
on the 18th March, 2013 at 10:29am
To Tom - Inter were not found guilty because of a legal technicality. Educate yourself.
on the 18th March, 2013 at 10:27am
Why is almost everyone talking like anything is new?it's ludicrous for one to even conceive it inappropriate to celebrate with ur fans.when inter coach stramaccioni yelled "this is for you" after the derby victory over Milan,no one dared to even call it wrong; why is conte's different?or when mourinho celebrates like a mad man sporadically,never have I heard anyone say it's classless.why is everyone picking on conte&juve?it's all u haters dat need 2 show some class&intelligence.talk like adults
on the 18th March, 2013 at 10:25am
to all the juve fans that want their scudetto's back. If you get them back they will stand side by side all the other scudettos juve have gained from cheatng. Doping, bribery , threatening behaviour, etc all part of juve's dna. juve fans who try to dismiss other bloggers has illiterate dont make me laugh. the records show that when juve was investigated they were found guilty. dont try and pretend othewise. inter have not been found guilty of anything. ony juve has.
on the 18th March, 2013 at 6:48am
The Juventus team coach is spat at, and attacked with rocks and sticks. Conte is subjected to vile abuse by a fan holding a four year old child in their arms. The Bologna supporters revel in vile chanting and showing banners regarding Hysel and the death of Agnelli. All this and Conte is vilified for celebrating his teams victory, with his own supporters, in the last 30 seconds of injury time. Something is very, very wrong here! No team deserves this disgusting behaviour.
on the 18th March, 2013 at 6:32am
@ Maser

Respect to you my Bianconeri Brother.
on the 18th March, 2013 at 6:13am
Quag and Matri better start this game! Who agrees? Anyone who watches then and understands soccer will agree. Vucinic is good so he cud start too. But plz no Giovinco! He gets pushed off the ball too much! We need pure STRICKERS vucinic and Giovinco are supporting strikers. Matri and quag score and vucinic sometimes too. Matri and quag start peluso on the left and u guys know the rest. Pogba and giaccarini and vucinic sub in the second half. That's how it shud go we need to attack bayern!
on the 18th March, 2013 at 4:49am
There is no sport without fans, they watch it they pay money to keep it running, the only return they expect is success and to celebrate that success hence they should have the right to celebrate (Fact)
There will be always Juve Lovers and Juve Haters! (Fact)

the End!
on the 18th March, 2013 at 4:29am
Over the past 18 months, Juve has demonstrated that they are the best team in Italy, for those who are radical and subjective and cannot see it during the game, have a look at the statistics after the game and numbers don’t lie they are facts (Fact)
As long as you do not disrespect anyone, you do have the right to celebrate your success with your fans and that is what Conte was doing (Fact)

End of Part 3
on the 18th March, 2013 at 4:29am

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