Soccer wars

by Henry Farrell on March 23, 2006

Via David Glenn, this “wonderful chart”: showing the political affiliations of Italian football team support groups. Lazio’s supporters, not surprisingly, vary from the right to the extreme right. A friend’s sister briefly dated a Lazio supporter; it sounds to have been an interesting experience. The links between soccer and politics are especially strong in Italy; Berlusconi’s “Forza Italia” is the only political party I know of that takes its name from a football chant.

Changing the subject a bit, it looks as though Berlusconi is going to go down in flames when Italians head to the polls next month. He’s had no success in lowering the opposition’s “5% lead”: in the polls, and the stench of desperation from him and his supporters reeks so strongly as to be nearly tangible. Public attacks on “Confindustria”:, the most important Italian business organization (and usually a reliable water-carrier for the right), claims that the left is organizing riots to create a “situation of democratic emergency”:, and most bizarre of all, a public plea for pity from the press.

bq. I’m carrying all the paperwork for the cabinet meeting, which is very hefty as you can see. I stayed up and worked on this until five this morning, as I have done throughout these five years. I say this with little hope of it being reported … I’m sorry if I’ve been long-winded, but I am at peace with my conscience … Let’s hope that some good soul in the media world, out of pity, will write news of this.

What the Italians would call a ‘brutta figura’ (bad show). It sounds as if Berlusconi himself believes that he’s lost the election.

Update – Thanks to Scott McLemeee for the photo below – the Brigate Autonome Livornesi are clearly fans of Uncle Joe.


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Sind wir noch brauchbar? » The sort of reason, if you’re a twat, to yearn for higher office
03.24.06 at 4:10 am



dmm 03.23.06 at 2:20 pm

Intersting that Berlusconi’s AC Milan has a far-left supporters group but no far-right group. All of Milan’s far right groups seem to prefer Inter.

Also, what does “squadre a rischio secondo la polizia” mean?


Backword Dave 03.23.06 at 2:44 pm

Good grief: according his Wikipedia entry, Berlusconi “is the founder and principal shareholder of Fininvest, the second largest Italian corporation (after Fiat), which deals in media and financial business and, most notably, comprises three national TV channels. Together these account for nearly half the Italian TV market.”

“[S]ome good soul in the media world, out of pity … ” Forsooth!


P O'Neill 03.23.06 at 3:06 pm

Anyone know if it’s an actual fact that divisions within fans of a given team tend to be more severe in continental Europe than in Britain? That’s certainly the impression one gets in coverage of trouble at matches e.g. in France, where the PSG toughs in the stands seem to spend most of their time fighting each other.


DC 03.23.06 at 3:47 pm

That Silvio quote is remarkably like Tricky’s self-pitying “you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” press conference. Must sense defeat.


ogmb 03.23.06 at 4:51 pm

Not sure if this is a hoax, but it seems like Silvio has devised a strategy to improve his image with the public.

[SFW, but barely so.]


Randy Paul 03.23.06 at 7:43 pm

Well I guess my days as an Inter supporter are through . . .


Vance Maverick 03.23.06 at 8:02 pm

“squadre a rischio secondo la polizia” = “teams at risk according to the police”.


Alexander Wolfe 03.23.06 at 10:37 pm

That’s very interesting. Would anyone argue that the same dynamic exists for supporters of American sports? Certainly it doesn’t exist among American soccer fans, though they do very in intelligence from an average low (Columbus Crew fans) to an average high (FC Dallas fans.)


Grand Moff Texan 03.24.06 at 10:20 am

the stench of desperation from him and his supporters reeks so strongly as to be nearly tangible

A couple of weeks ago I was told by a congressional staffer about his being used as a prop, along with other staffers, in a faux “joint session of Congress,” where Berlusconi spoke without a translator and the largely uncomprehending “audience” responded to prompts to applaud and stand and applaud.

It was filmed.

The next day, on Berlusconi-owned TV stations, the “joint session” was shown with “reporters” gushing over the record number of standing ovations, the most ever for a foreign dignitary at a “joint session of Congress.”


Grand Moff Texan 03.24.06 at 10:29 am

Sorry, not a staffer, it was Congressman Jim McDermott.


shystee 03.27.06 at 12:11 pm

That soccer hooligan map is awesome. Good to see Umbria is still lefty.

Updates on the election: Electronic Voting Fraud, Italian Style.

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