Never ask about football to an Italian, or he will go on boasting about his favourite football team for hours.La tifoseria Italiana , Italian football supporters, are numerous and at times, a bit too fanatic, indeed.
Tifosi sometimes forget what rationality is and their excesses have lead to unpleasant, even violent, events, reminiscent of the aggressive behaviors of British Hooligans. In certain cases, Italian police has been forced to deny to entire groups of supporters the right to follow their team’s matches.
Surprisingly to say and to believe, sometimes even friends get quite feisty with each other when it comes to football. Competition and rivalry are quite tough and they can be immediately perceived on social networks such as Facebook or public forums.
Supporters start to share links and comments on their own teams before watching the match. Rudeness increases after half time and sometimes explodes at the end of the match. This sort of behavior, although questionable, usually does not escalated into anything serious. Other times, though, supporters loose control of the situation and things can turn quite nasty: well known are, for instance, cases of racial abuse towards players and teams, often in the form of banners and chanting.
New measures have recently been taken in this respect, in an attempt to avoid, or at least reduce, violence in stadiums: for example, frisking and bag searching before getting into a stadium became common practice.
Another new measure was the introduction of the tessera del tifoso, the supporter card. It is a card giving standard, personal information, that the police can check to find out if the supporter has a good or bad record.
The most followed teams
According to statistics the most followed Italian football teams are the following:
Juventus- According to Italian daily La Repubblica, Juventus has more than 12 million supporters in the country.
Milan- 16% of people support this team in Italy
Napoli- 7 millions of people are estimated to support Naples
These data are not definitive, especially when it comes to deciding which of the milanese teams ranks second behind Juventus.
There is something more to say: not only men, today, love and support football. Many girls and women enjoy spending their sunday at the stadium, rooting for their favorite team. Let’s hope their presence mellows down some of the most fiery supporters.