Roma coach on hooligans: ‘Rotten apples are everywhere’

Ian Watson

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco says the culprits who left a Liverpool fan in a critical condition last week are not “true fans” of Roma.

Ahead of the Champions League semi-final second leg between the two clubs, there is a particular focus on fans following an attack before the first leg left 53-year-old Reds supporter Sean Cox fighting for his life.

A huge police operation is being undertaken to keep the 5,000 travelling fans safe and while Di Francesco admits there is a problem with some of the club’s supporters he insists it is not specific to Roma.

“I’m afraid that rotten apples are everywhere in all sets of fans,” he added.

“Obviously someone who does not belong to our true fans did something very, very wrong. My thoughts and prayers go with the family.

“What I can assure you is that here in Rome, the base of Roma fans are really passionate.

“Unfortunately, hooligans are everywhere and you are familiar with that phenomenon.

“Unfortunately, it’s a massive issue that is detrimental to the whole footballing world. My appeal is to the fans is to come to the stadium and enjoy a sports festival.”

Part of the animosity to Liverpool from Roma fans dates back to their defeat in the 1984 final when they were defeated in their own ground as the Reds won their fourth European Cup.

But Di Francesco said that history was irrelevant to this match.

“Too much time has gone from that final. It’s something that lies inside the hearts of Roma fans,” he said.

“I’ve been here as a player in the past, I know how important that game was, but it was another time.

“I believe that you can’t compare this game to the 1984 final. Motivations have to come from other parts.”


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