AS Roma President, Jim Pallotta was asked on Saturday about how he felt after the first leg Champions League semi-final match between Liverpool and Roma and he responded that things have to change in Rome and indeed in Italy before their football history and legacy are destroyed. His full statement, released on Roma's official website follows below.
I don’t want to talk about the game at all at Liverpool. What I want to talk about is how these games are great but they’re not life and death. What’s going on right now with Sean Cox in Liverpool, that’s life and death and that affects his family. I don’t really give a shit about the score of the game. It’s disappointing to me that Rome and AS Roma get blamed for a few individuals who do stupid things. Now, I don’t know the whole story. All I’ve seen is what I saw on the video, like most others, and at least that part of the video with Sean is just the most disgusting stupidity and my prayers are for him and his family. It’s depressing though that all of the other fans at Roma get blamed for something that, going back to that saying that I had about a year and a half ago… a few people wrecking things for everyone else. I don’t blame our fans. We have unbelievably great fans across the board. The Curva Sud… the only reason we come back and win games like we did against Barcelona is because of the 99.9% of the fans in the Curva Sud who are great. Then, occasionally, you get a few, normally outside of the game, more than anything else… it’s just absolutely ridiculous. But it’s time now for things to change in Italy and in Rome, because it is just happening too much. I’ll go back to something that happened in 1993. I was in Florence in 1993 and I was in a museum that all of us know. At the end of the day, when the museum closed, I was going to have dinner in a restaurant right next to the museum and I ended up getting into a better restaurant about a mile away. The next morning I got up and I drove at six in the morning to Paris. Most of the night, all I’d heard was sirens. I got to Paris and I pulled up to the hotel and the doorman asked me where I was coming from. I said I was coming from Florence and the doorman turned to me and said, ‘Ooh, big bomb!’ I couldn’t understand what he was saying and I went inside and checked in and was having a beer with a friend of mine and CNN was on and it turned out they’d blown up 20% of the museum. All I remember after that night was Italians got together and said, ‘Enough is enough of this shit!’ I remember millions of Italians, or it looked like millions of Italians, all over the country started marching against the criminal elements and saying, ‘You are destroying our history’. We have a long history at Roma and what’s going on when you have a few stupid people is that they destroy our history and they attack our legacy and I’m tired of it. It’s not just an issue for Rome. It’s an issue for Italy and it’s an issue for the authorities and it’s an issue for all of to band together and to finally wake up so that we don’t have a reputation - that’s not deserved around the rest of the world - that our fans are not good fans because our fans are the best fans in the world – it’s just a couple of fucking morons that take the rest of us down.
Here's hoping that those morons take heed and don't ruin things for everyone this coming Wednesday night at the Stadio Olimpico.
Up the Reds!