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Italian football fan gropes female reporter on live TV, gets three-year stadium ban

The timing of the incident is a concern as Serie A players were taking part in a campaign denouncing violence against women the same day.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: December 2, 2021 9:02:35 am
Italian journalist is slapped on backside by football fan after Empoli beat Fiorentina

A female journalist reporting from outside Stadium Carlo Castellani post the Tuscan derby in Serie A was ‘slapped on the back’ by an Italian fan on live television. After the video went viral and caused uproar, the police commissioner of Florence issued an exclusion order against the fan, banning him from stadiums for three years.

The incident took place after Fiorentina lost 2-1 to Empoli on Saturday. The alleged fan is under police investigation.

As fans streamed out of the stadium, a supporter in a green jacket approached journalist Greta Beccaglia from behind before slapping her on the backside and leaving. Beccaglia reacted and said in Italian, “Sorry, you can’t do this, I’m sorry.”

Shortly afterwards, another supporter stopped next to Beccaglia before swearing into the camera with a hand gesture. TV anchor Giorgio Micheletti has also been criticised for not handling the situation wisely and telling Beccaglia to not get cross about the incident. Toscana TV said he was taking a ‘professional break’ from the show.

Andrea Serrani, the alleged man, apologised to the reporter on Italian radio show Zanzara but denied allegations of sexism. “I did a stupid thing. They describe me as an abuser but I am not like that.” Apologising for his behaviour and terming it as ‘anger’ at his side’s loss, Serrani said he is “ready to meet” the journalist, adding: “I’m not a criminal.”

“I was coughing, I didn’t spit,” Serrani added after being questioned on his hand gesture.

Beccaglia, however, said that an apology is not enough for the ‘disgraceful’ gesture. “If he apologises, that man does the bare minimum. But apologies in these cases are not enough,” she told state broadcaster RaiNews24. “Justice must take its course and establish that that disgraceful gesture is wrong.”

The timing of the footage was particularly embarassing and concerning for the Italian football authorities as the league and players were participating in an awareness campaign on violence against women the same day.

They had used the Tuscan derby fixture to raise awareness of their ‘give violence against women the red card’ campaign. Over the weekend, players in Serie A had sported a red mark on their cheeks to promote the message and spread awareness of an anti-stalking hotline.

The Order of Journalists of Tuscany condemned the incident and expressed full solidarity with Beccaglia.

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