FA tear up England fan’s ticket for a picture of him with the ‘highly offensive’ Diego Maradona flag
An England fan in Italy had his match ticket torn up by the FA after he was spotted holding a flag mocking the death of legendary footballer Diego Maradona.
The man posed next to a St George’s flag that read “Diego’s in a box” in the four white quadrants on a train ahead of Thursday night’s game in Naples.
The tasteless flag would likely not be well received by the people of the city, where the Argentine footballer, who died in 2020, is widely revered for his exploits for local side Napoli as a player.
The game between the Three Lions and the Azzurri had already been reported due to potential problems with crowds and was played at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium, named after the football icon.
England would go on to win 2-1, with goals from Declan Rice and Harry Kane taking the game beyond Italy, while Gareth Southgate’s side fended off a second-half comeback.
The man was pictured holding a St. George’s flag with the words “Diego’s in a box” written in each quadrant
It came as thousands of England fans traveled to Naples in Italy to watch their side kick off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign
There were concerns about possible hooliganism surrounding the game, with local officials banning the sale of alcohol to avoid violence – although many fans enjoyed beers in the Mediterranean sun in the hours leading up to kick-off.
Last week, after Eintracht Frankfurt’s visit to the Champions League, there were running battles in which police cars were also set on fire.
While scenes like this have not been seen before this week, the sight of an English fan poking fun at one of Naples’ most popular characters would not have gone down well with locals.
Maradona, who died three years ago, won five trophies with Napoli – including two Serie A titles – between 1984 and 1990 – at which point his career was curtailed by a drug ban.
The Argentine footballer, who won two World Cups with his country and scored the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England, is adored by fans of the Italy team, who have a statue on the ground in his honor.
This prompted a strong reaction from the FA, with a spokesman saying: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the actions of the person who traveled to Naples with a flag bearing a highly offensive message.
“We immediately took steps to have their tickets canceled ahead of the game.
“The matter will be looked at further when we return to England.”
Declan Rice celebrates England’s 1-0 win over Italy at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples on Thursday
Three Lions fans stretch out their arms as they sing in celebration after Declan Rice gave their team a 1-0 lead
People on social media were concerned for the fan’s safety, with many saying he could expect a backlash from Italian fans in Naples if he carried the flag.
Fears of a repeat of last week’s scenes had prompted the local government to introduce an alcohol sales ban and Italian media had warned that “hooligans” were on the way and the city should prepare.
However, the locals showed indifference to the English fans There was no sign of police enforcing this as many football fans were seen drinking throughout the afternoon.
England fans were seen picking up empty beer bottles and helping staff clean up the dockside square.
Even local media questioned the enforcement of the alcohol ban when a website published images of England fans openly drinking outside bars.
The headline read: “No one seems to be obeying the ban on alcohol in Naples – in fact everyone is toasting to Italy v England.”
However, there were problems for some getting to the stadium, some England fans were reportedly put on buses and then driven in the opposite direction from the ground.
And video has been released showing clashes between some of the traveling Barmy army and police in riot gear just outside the stadium.
England fans smile and point at the camera while enjoying pre-match beer near Castel Nuovo in Naples
England fans gather in central Naples ahead of the game where they enjoyed beers in the spring sunshine
England fans dispose of their empty beer bottles and cans by throwing them in a rubbish bag near Castel Nuovo
On the pitch, England weathered an early rush from the home side before taking the lead when Declan Rice scored from a corner.
Things got even better before half-time when England captain Harry Kane converted a penalty from a handball to overtake Wayne Rooney as his country’s all-time leading scorer.
Things took a negative turn when Mateo Retegui scored on his debut for Italy and things got worse when Luke Shaw was sent off after receiving two bookings in less than a minute.
But they showed strong rearguard action and stuck to the three points to get their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign off to the best possible start.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11896555/FA-rips-England-fans-ticket-picture-holding-highly-offensive-Diego-Maradona-flag.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 FA tear up England fan’s ticket for a picture of him with the ‘highly offensive’ Diego Maradona flag