Matt Halsdorff – California Granata
While most Italian football fans will be forced to watch the matches at home this weekend, the stadium gates in Torino will be open.
The players, coaches, and presidents of many teams around the league have expressed their clear dislike of the idea of teams playing behind locked doors, and there have even been comments made by some calling for a Sunday strike.
Livorno’s striker Cristiano Lucarelli opened the possibility of a player strike in the next days by commenting “we respect the government’s decision, but we football players ask that there is not discrimination between the opened and closed stadiums. Otherwise, we as players could stop for one more Sunday to reflect on this situation. Yesterday the club presidents surveyed the AIC to know if we would be ready to go on strike. We said yes”. The president of Trieste seemed to play the same tune when telling reporters “we can also think about going on strike”.
Toro’s own Iacopo Balestri commented “closing the doors to the stadiums seems like a big mistake to me. The public is one of the fundamental components to our sport. Instead, we could stop for a longer break, 6 months for example, and start back up only when the stadiums can give all the safety guarantees necessary. As a player you can certainly feel the difference between an empty stadium and one overflowing with fans”.
Torino’s Stadio Olimpico is one of only 6 stadiums in the premier league that complies with a set of security requirements established and passed into law last year. These requirements include specific guidelines and rules that every stadium must adhere to.
Though this law, named the “Legge Pisanu” was passed last year it was never truly put into practice. The enforcement of the law was simply ignored or put on the back burner by many stadiums as they searched for the money to make the needed changes.
What are the particulars of this law?
Some of the main requirements include the following points:
– Electronic tickets with printed names.
– Video surveillance in the stadiums that hold more than 10,000 spectators.
– Entrances and exits with turn-styles.
– Stewards in the stadiums who work for the clubs.
Thanks to the Winter Olympic Games held in Torino in 2006, in which the Stadio Olimpico was used during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, our stadium is already adherent to these requirements. The stadium hosts around 100 surveillance cameras and 26 double turn-styles at the entrances. The turn-styles are opened after an electronic scan of one’ss ticket or season ticket card. All 25,442 fans allowed into the stadium have a seat. (A big difference compared to the days of old when thousands would be standing in the stadium aisles and stairwells.)
The fans themselves throughout the country have many unanswered questions. What will happen to season ticket holders? Will they be reimbursed for their tickets? Do the teams who will play in front of full stadiums have an advantage over those who are forced to play in silence? Why has it taken the Catania tragedy to force the stadiums to comply with the law?
The players themselves are practicing and preparing for what awaits them on Sunday afternoon. Toro being Toro they are focusing on the future and on their next adversary.
Looking at the match, Balestri noted, “we have a truly important match this Sunday, we have got to get back to scoring points”.