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Fiorentina fans will boycott the Juventus game due to flooding

Serie A’s refusal to postpone the game as Tuscany reaches a crisis point has spurred the Curva into action.

ACF Fiorentina v US Lecce - Serie A TIM
Don’t expect this tomorrow.
Photo by Andrea Martini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Last time Juventus came to Florence for the Coppa Italia in 2022, the Curva Fiesole responded with one of the most incredible displays we’ve ever seen. From the pre-match choreography, featuring Dante Alighieri in profile against purple flames with the legend “Fiorenza...per lo ‘nferno il tuo nome si spande”, to the volume of the crowd—the TV commentators had to turn off the pitch-side microphones because the stadium was so loud, which they’d never experienced before—it was indescribable.

As Juve return tomorrow, though, there won’t be a sequel in the stands, because the Curva won’t be in attendance. Despite pleas to the league office to postpone the game in honor of the victims of the record flooding throughout Tuscany that’s left at least 6 people dead and thousands stranded without electricity, gas, or drinking water, Serie A has decided to stick to the schedule.

Instead of the record crowd that fans had hoped to assemble, the Curva has decided instead to focus its energy towards assisting those hit by the floods, boycotting the match so that members of the official supporters groups can aid and clean up wreckage throughout the region. As a result, the atmosphere in the Stadio Artemio Franchi will be extremely subdued.

Curva Fiesole now completely abandoning the match.
"As you all know, the Curva Fiesole has expressed its opinion regarding the Fiorentina-Juventus match. The tragic crisis that has hit our city has brought entire families to their knees and will have long-term consequences. This is why we asked in a statement to postpone the match: out of respect for those who suffer, to concentrate energy in a proactive manner, to leave no one behind. From those who have ruined the world of football, not caring about anything other than scraping together a few pennies from sponsors and TV, closing themselves in a bubble made of speculation and profit, we expected nothing different. These are their "values". Curva Fiesole, following the decision to play the match regularly, will not be present in the stands. There is nothing to celebrate: giving a signal against this injustice is an act that comes from our feelings but also from our reason. The game of football, as we understand it, belongs to the various communities that follow it. It's a people's game. At this moment the people of Florence are experiencing a tragedy and need all the energy they can. There are people who would like to attend the match but will not be able to do so, for various reasons that each of us can imagine. When everything is "under control" again, then it will be time to return to our seats, it will be time to "play" again. As during the siege of 1530, we will not back down. If there is battle, we will be there. As there were today, three hundred of us, in the Campi area, completely abandoned by state institutions. We are active on this front, because now it is our priority and tomorrow we will be back in the mud. We reiterate: we are the only active subjects. There is no shadow of the institutions. So we ask ourselves what sense it makes to employ hundreds of men for a football match, while there is a population that is mourning the dead and is still in serious difficulty. You can find the resources to keep your sideshow going, while when you have to make an effort for tragic events, for families in difficulty, no one lifts a finger, except to make catwalks. It's not the first time in this country. We understand the need to be close to Fiorentina in this particular moment. Therefore we don't judge anyone but we don't want to be judged either. Everyone should do what they feel like doing. With a thought for the victims of this tragedy. With all the people who are suffering in these hours. Come on Florence, we won't leave anyone behind!"

Perhaps the most irritating part is that, as Fiorentina fans unite to help their neighbors, certain segments of the Juve fanbase have attacked them, claiming that any calls of respect for victims of disasters are disingenuous given the disgusting record that some segments of the Viola fanbase possess in regards to the Heysel stadium disaster. Especially in a moment of crisis brought on by something as universally concerning as global warming, settling scores like this feels small and cruel.

While I understand that the local authorities and Serie A brain trust have a difficult job in these situations, the refusal to even consider a postponement feels tone deaf at best. We’ve seen matches postponed for disasters in the past—the Ponte Morandi tragedy in 2018, for example—so it’s clearly not an insurmountable logistical difficulty, especially in the face of a natural disaster like this.

Aftermath of heavy rain and flooding in Florence
For perspective, this photo is from Florence, which wasn’t hit as hard as some nearby towns.
Photo by Carlo Bressan/Anadolu via Getty Images

It’s also not an exaggeration to say that the Curva’s efforts to help those affected by the disaster aren’t merely lip service. Florence mayor Dario Nardella—not always on the best of terms with the supporters due to the lack of refurbishment of the Artemio Franchi—has praised the supporters as the new Mud Angels, harking back to the infamous 1966 flood that nearly flattened Florence itself.

With the rain still hammering down in Tuscany, perhaps the pitch will be too wet for calcio and the game will get postponed at the last minute. Perhaps that would be for the best, although more rain is the last thing those thousands of people affected by the flooding want. But with the area overwhelmed by floods, a soccer game ought to be the last thing on anyone’s mind.