Pescara’s hardcore supporters, known as the Rangers, have released a statement in which they say they will not travel to the Stadio Olimpico for Sunday’s match against Roma. The Rangers argue that they cannot ignore the Curva Sud’s ongoing protests as football goes beyond what happens on the pitch.
Pescara Rangers’ statement is as follows:
“On Sunday the Pescara Rangers won’t follow their own team to the Stadio Olimpico. This is a painful decision that goes against all of our ideals, especially at this current time when the team needs us, our support and our voice more than ever, but unfortunately we feel that this is the right decision. There are things that matter more than the 90 minutes played on a football pitch.
“We won’t be there because, rather than being welcomed by the home fans with an intimidating atmosphere, the stadium will instead be empty as their support has stopped going to home games in justifiable protest against those in the capital who think that the the ultras are such a problem that they have divided the Curva, and that goes against our principles. Football doesn’t exist without an opponent; we like being masters of any stadium but there must be someone to oppose us.
“We won’t be there because it’s forbidden to be an ultra in Rome; our skin proves that’s what we are, as do the fines and warnings we’ve received simply for not staying in our allocated seats. A stadium is not like the theatre!! We want to underline that this isn’t about feeling victimised or feeling sorry for ourselves; we’ve always been used to fighting for our rights and for the freedom not just to be ultras but to be an Italian citizen. In recent years the Stadio Olimpico has been transformed by the enforcement of the sort of militarisation worthy of a police state run by a dictatorial regime where being a free citizen counts for nothing; we’re sorry, but we will not go along with this. And so we invite all Biancazzurri fans to support us in this decision and follow our lead as they have always done!!! Forget the “dear away fans” announcement as well; we’ve always made sacrifices, including financially, but if it has been necessary for us to face a test like this then we have always done so immediately – football has and must always belong to the people. Clubs cannot fill their bank accounts by making money out of supporters who have always followed them en masse.
“You cannot change a culture, a belief – this isn’t England. FOOTBALL BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE AND IT MUST ALWAYS STAY THAT WAY.”