Hellas Verona will play their next home game, against Genoa, with part of its stands vacant after Lega Serie A banned the Curva Sud area of the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi due to unsportsmanlike conduct during, before and after the club’s 2-1 loss against Napoli last weekend.
The Partenopei beat the home side by a 2-1 scoreline, thanks to a brace from Nigerian marksman Victor Osimhen. The striker was targeted throughout the match with whistles, jeers and racist chants. Captain Kalidou Koulibaly was also subject to the same treatment throughout the match.
The club’s ultras, the Brigate Gialloblu, have always been notorious when it comes to receiving away sides in Veneto.
It was at the Benetegodi in 2019, when the then Brescia striker Mario Balotelli was on the end of racist abuse. The ex-Inter and Milan forward then went on to kick the ball into the stands in a gesture of retaliation, before the game was temporarily suspended.
The racist chants and abuse have become somewhat of a common theme in the stands by the home crowd, but it was a banner unveiled on the eve of the Napoli game outside the stadium that made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
— Giovanni Capuano (@capuanogio) March 13, 2022
In a new low, the Curva Sud revealed a shocking banner that displayed the GPS coordinates of Naples, alongside the flags of Russia and Ukraine – indicating that the southern Italian city should be targeted.
The action has since been condemned by public figures in Italy, including Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio and Veneto governor Luca Zaia. Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti also demanded after the match that the people who created the banner ‘never set foot in a stadium again’.
Un messaggio ripugnante.
Lo striscione contro #Napoli e i napoletani esposto da tifosi, o presunti tali, dell’Hellas Verona è grave e va condannato da tutti, senza distinguo e senza giustificazioni.
Questa guerra è reale, non è finzione, non è un gioco: https://t.co/RUbdFufipC
— Luigi Di Maio (@luigidimaio) March 13, 2022
Serie A chief Luigi De Siervo said: Serie A boss Luigi De Siervo also commented on the matter as he said: “Serie A condemns the banner that popped up in Verona. In a tragic time like this, only idiots could imagine such a thing.” (Daily Mail)
The Gialloblu host Genoa next at the Benetegodi in the first week of April.