September 17 – Police in Italy have arrested 12 Juventus ‘ultra’ fans over allegations of blackmail and extortion including threatening to chant racist slogans if they weren’t provided with tickets to games.
Investigators say the fans wanted to bulk buy more cheap tickets than were available in order to sell them on for a profit.
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.
Singing racist chants during matches would almost certainly have led to the club being hit with fines and possibly having points deducted.
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.
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