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Football. Atalanta hooligans go against journalist of “Gazzetta dello Sport”

Fifty fans arrived in Milan from Bergamo offended Sebastiano Vernazza and launched smoke bombs to protest. Solidarity from editorial board, USSI and ALG

“Vernazza orphaned of the brain”: is the writing on a banner that fifty hooligans of the Atalanta club, the football team of Bergamo, presented on March 5, 2016 outside the offices of the newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, in via Rizzoli in Milan, against Sebastiano Vernazza, one of the journalists of the outlet. The fans who came from Bergamo sang offensive chants and slogans against the journalist; then they threw copies of the newspaper on the floor and launched smoke bombs. What piqued the hooligan’s, apparently, it had been an article by Vernazza, entitled “Atalanta, se i bambini omaggiano il capo ultrà” (Atalanta, if children pay homage to hooligan chiefs), published on March 6, 2016 on the weekly magazine of the Gazzetta dello Sport, “SportWeek”, in which he criticized the behavior of some parents who had brought their children to a march of solidarity in favor of a hooligan leader affected by restrictive measures and special surveillance.

“I have already suffered other acts of intimidation a few years ago – said Vernazza to Ossigeno – but what has happened last Saturday represents a quantum leap. If fans come from Bergamo to Milan, it means we are at the last stages of the warning.” The journalist said that precisely for this reason he is considering to press charges for the incident. “So far I have endured – he concludes – now I need to erect safeguards”. The hooligans, at the end of the demonstration, published an open letter that motivates their protest, specifying on Facebook that “they asked for a confrontation with the journalist but, according to security, he was not present.”

The Editorial Committee of the Gazzetta has expressed solidarity to Vernazza and said in a statement: “We’ll not be scared in our own home; we’ll not be taught how to do our job.” Solidarity and condemnation of the incident have also come by the Association of Journalists of Lombardy and the Gruppo Lombardo Giornalisti Sportivi of the USSI, who called the incident “disturbing” and appealed to the presidents of the national associations, Federcalcio and League, to intervene “with courage and determination to safeguard the work of sports journalists, more and more often the subject of discrimination and intimidation.”


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