The 2015/16 Serie A season began in Rome with protests from the Curva Sud. Rather, the single-entity that is the Curva Sud was pushed into protesting, as the city of Rome installed plexiglass barriers to divide the Curva, partitioning a body of one, into a divided set of arteries. The complications to choreograph, sing, wave banners and flags so typically accustomed to the stands, have sparked not only stadium protest from the ultras, but worldwide attraction and notice from Roma’s fan-communities. Fighting for the soul of the Olimpico, they in hope, if not demand, the reestablishing of Roma’s 12th man.
The ultras released an official communication, which was spread in several different languages:
“Dear AS Roma fans worldwide,
We write you because something terrible is happening to the Curva Sud of AS Roma. Police is destroying Curva Sud: chants, banners, flags are the past by now. We want to let you know that at the moment, if you should come here one day for a derby or some other match, you won’t find anything you expect because the Curva Sud has been conducted to silence. If you want to share the protest, please write in english to firstname.lastname@example.org writing “We support Curva Sud, stop repression.” Thank you.”
Owner James Pallotta has declared his anger against the sanctions through Roma Radio: “The security measures? Roma have nothing to do with that, we’ve neither supported or demanded them. I’d ask fans to look at the model for the new stadium, the key part is the Sud.”
However, fans are calling for a stronger a statement, an official address against the city. Some fans believe the president has kept quiet due to a desire to weed out the ultras, and bring in a more gentrified fanbase; families and wealthy professionals, buying food, consuming the stadium amenities, and paying top dollar for a front row seat. All factors which would help Pallotta and co. receive a quicker return on investment. And Lazio’s owner, Lotito? They say he is only keeping his (big) mouth shut because he is at odds with his own fans.
In truth, it is not an ideal time for Jimmy to speak out against the city, as he vies for legislation to pass referendums for the new stadium at Tor di Valle. The new stadium will necessitate millions upon millions of euros for a new metro line, infrastructure, and other major investments and allowances by the city.
A Curva Sud regular who wishes to remain anonymous elaborates on the sentiment:
“Crack down on those hooligans who are responsible for violence, not the entire Curva; this is what we are advocating. It’s Pallotta’s silence we are protesting, when the government is doing everything they can to destroy our soul – Our Curva. A strong statement saying that this is imposed by the city and that the club is unhappy with it will be enough to calm the protesters issues with Jimmy and point their protest in the right direction, away from him. But while he remains silent, things will remain the same. The barrier won’t stop another shooting that happens a mile away from the Olimpico, so why separate brothers and friends inside. Step up your efforts on cracking down on fascists that might cause trouble (these are easily known on social media, as they like having their name out there), and leave those in the Curva alone to celebrate and chant their beloved club to victory.
This silence is doing nothing but breeding an air of betrayal amongst us fans, as the only ones that have the power to protest this officially are Jimmy and Co. They are opting to keep quiet, and it all feels as if our own management is an accomplice to this crime .
What’s sad is that before these barriers went, up before the security checks on 11 year olds at the Curva and the outrageous fines for not “sitting at your assigned seat,” there were no violent incidents inside the stadium, And what’s saddest of it all is that when this does happen fingers will be pointed at the ‘Barbarians’ in the Curva, when this could have easily been avoided with a few sensible, yet strong words from our owner to the mayor of Rome showing the fans our owner cares about them, and the essence of this team… Unless that violence is exactly what they want to prove their point once and for all, then go ahead with the Margaret Thatcher measures that killed any soul left in the EPL.
I for one, and this is what I wrote to the club, attend about four matches a year, pay my flights and accommodation myself and I’m not rich, but until they fix this, I am not attending any games at the Olimpico – whatsoever.”
In addition, Roma Scudetto winner, Vincent Candela, came out yesterday and stated,
“They (councils) are doing everything they can to divide the fans, not only in the Curva. The Curva is a group, and they reason/make decisions all-together. I give my wishes that the fans return to the Curva, as the team needs them. In my time the Curva was decisive for Roma, at the beginning of the season, and helping us get through. When you know that the support is there with 60,000 people rather than 12,000, it makes such a psychological difference. It is strange that no player has spoken on the issue, as it is the fans who make us feel important. If not, then calcio is dead.”
From Roma Club Philadelphia, figurehead Gianluca Pugliese states,
“I think the Curva Sud is doing the appropriate thing with protesting against its division. For a lot of these fans, AS Roma is much more than a sports team. Instead, it’s a way of life, a perpetual love and the other side of a passionate relationship. Now that they can no longer express this through the Curva Sud, their distress and frustration is understandable. I hope this soon restores everything because it’s hard to watch games without the characteristic Curva Sud of AS Roma.”
Until the sanctions are lifted against the Curva Sud, you can expect them to keep singing on for their beloved wolf from outside the stadium. The Curva can never be divided.
The following is a catalogue of fan pictures and testimonials towards reclaiming the Curva Sud
Indonesian Roma fan club above, protests outside the stadium below
The unfortunate reality of present day’s Curva
Roma fans below, protesting yet paying homage to Giuseppe “Peppone” De Vivo, figurehead of the Curva Sud, who recently passed away from terminal illness. Roma would beat Juve later that day
More fans from Indonesia rallying behind the Curva below
Above, Roma v. Barcelona in 2001, and then in 2015, last week
Below, more protests, as fans continue to sing and wave their flags outside the stadium
Panathinaikos supporting the Curva Sud
In hope and belief of the magic once again