British Ambassador calls on fan unity in Roma-Liverpool tie
ROME – The Eternal City has turned red and gold as Roma fans eagerly anticipate their showdown with Liverpool at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night. The British Ambassador to Italy has led an appeal to both sets of supporters for responsible crowd behaviour following the horrific attacks by Roma ‘ultras’ last week.
British Ambassador Jill Morris emphasised the need for fan discipline in what will undoubtedly be an emotionally-charged tie. “The game will be an opportunity for fans of both teams to come together and celebrate their shared passion for sport,” Morris said.
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi accompanied by Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson delivered a joint message, stressing that the “passion, loyalty, rivalry” of fans must be controlled in a spectacle which will be broadcast to millions around the world.
“When Roma fans arrived in Liverpool, they were greeted with open arms, a warm welcome and an invitation to appreciate the city and its inhabitants,” the pair added in a joint statement. “Liverpool fans will receive the same warm welcome when they arrive in Rome, a city known for its beauty, passion and energy.”
Roma players appeared at their Trigoria training ground sporting shirts with “Forza Sean” written across the front. The message marked the club’s solidarity with the Liverpool fan, Sean Cox, who was severely injured in fan clashes at Anfield last week.
Roma legend Francesco Totti highlighted the importance of the decisive leg on and off the pitch, citing it as a chance to put right the wrongs of a minority of ‘ultras’, who in no way represented the values of the club.
“The world looks at us and we want to dress Rome in its best clothes: we are its ambassadors, we have a great responsibility, inside and outside the Stadio Olimpico,” Totti said.
Thousands of expectant Liverpool fans have begun to filter into the Italian capital as around 1,000 extra police officers have been stationed across the city, intent on preventing a repeat of last week’s crowd trouble.
The triumphant side will meet Real Madrid in the final with the daunting task of halting the Spanish side’s run to a third consecutive Champions League title.