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FOOTBALL

‘Give us the tickets or we’ll sing racist chants’: Juventus fans accused of ticketing racket

Italian police on Monday arrested 12 leading Juventus hardline fans as part of a major investigation into violence and extortion linked to match ticket sales.

'Give us the tickets or we'll sing racist chants': Juventus fans accused of ticketing racket
Juve fans watch a match at home in Turin. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The suspects are accused of criminal association, aggravated extortion, money laundering and violence, police said.

The arrests were the culmination of a year-long probe centred on the alleged blackmail of ticketing officials by the “ultras”, who wanted cut-price blocks of tickets they could sell to fellow fans.

They reportedly began threatening to sing racist chants during matches — which would lead to the club being hit with fines and possibly having points deducted — after Juventus stopped distributing blocks of tickets for resale in 2017, Italian media said.

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Police said the hardcore groups had set up a “widespread criminal strategy to 'restore' lost favours”. Those arrested included the heads of the Drughi, Tradizione-Antichi Valori, Viking, Nucleo 1985 and Quelli … di via Filadelfia groups, police said in a statement.

Prosecutor Patrizia Caputo described the Drughi as “a military organisation”, saying that “even the most trusted members were got rid of if they did not follow the orders of the undisputed leader”.

“Violence is a way of life for these people. Not even the presence of children stopped them,” she said at a press conference, describing how innocent fans would be bullied into giving up their paid-for seats in the stadium.

Officers were carrying out 39 search warrants targeting those arrested and other suspects, with the help of police from cities across northern and central Italy, from Alessandria to Bergamo, Florence, Genoa and Milan.

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CRIME

Italy records sharp rise in femicides over the past year

Murders of women in Italy increased by nearly 16 percent over the past year, with the vast majority committed by a partner or ex-partner.

Italy records sharp rise in femicides over the past year

Data from Italy’s interior ministry on Monday showed there were 125 femicides between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022, compared with 108 during the same period in the previous year.

Of that number, the vast majority of murders — 108 — were committed within the family sphere or an emotional context, while 68 murders, or 63 percent of the total, were committed by the victim’s partner or ex-partner, data showed.

There were a total of 319 murders in Italy in the period.

The numbers show that, on average, a woman is killed every three days in Italy.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: ‘Violence against women conditions every aspect of our lives’

According to a November report by the European Institute for Gender Equality, Italy came in ninth out of 15 EU member states for the number of murders of women by intimate partners, based on 2018 data.

It came in tenth when looking at homicide committed by family members and relatives.

Womens’ rights campaigners say attitudes must change in Italy, where cases of violent crimes committed against women by their partners or ex-partners are often portrayed in the media as tragic stories of love gone sour, with the killers described as “jealous”.

READ ALSO: Almost half of Italian women report suffering sexual harassment

Almost 3.5 million women in Italy have been victims of stalking, according to data from national statistics agency Istat – but only 22 percent of those report the act or seek help.

Around one in three Italian women suffer abuse at some point in their life.

Femicide commonly refers to the killing of a girl or woman by a partner or family member.

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