Offensive Diego Maradona flag costs England fan his match ticket
An England supporter who was pictured with an offensive flag referencing the death of Diego Maradona had his tickets for Thursday night’s Euro 2024 qualifier revoked and was condemned by the Football Association.
Italy took on England at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples in the first match on the road to Germany next summer and a fan was pictured with a flag that read “Diego’s in a box”, in reference to Napoli and Argentina icon Maradona’s death in 2020.
An FA statement read: “We strongly condemn the actions of the individual who travelled to Naples with a flag that had a highly offensive message on it. We immediately took steps to have their tickets cancelled before the match. The matter will be reviewed further when we return to England.”
English police travelled to Naples to assist the local authorities and, in their communication to fans before the match, the FA emphasised the need to “represent England in the right way”.
Gareth Southgate, the England manager, said before the game: “Personally, I am excited about playing in a city that loves football, with a great history.
“Always we ask our fans to be good tourists and respect the local culture. We hope the game and the next couple of days pass with no problems.”
Italian authorities told fans not to independently make their way to the stadium, with coaches laid on for the 2,500 ticket-holders from the England Supporters Travel Club. There were reports of some fans’ buses taking over 1½ hours to get to the stadium.
Although Italian national team games attract a different fan base to those of Napoli, security concerns were heightened following the shameful scenes in Napoli’s match with Eintracht Frankfurt in the city last week.
Eintracht supporters were banned but some still travelled to Naples and there were violent clashes with riot police and local fans. Eight people were arrested.