Italy always represented a rampart inside the economy of the ultras world, and it’s still nowadays a landmark for a numbers of nations with smaller and latest cultures and traditions, compared to the Belpaese. In such a fizzy ambient both on the past and in these days, the numbers of derbies and rivalries are extremely high, and there are very few countries that could offer a similar scene. Inside the several contentions, one of the most felt and with a lot of history is the one between Atalanta, the biggest club in Bergamo, and Brescia; in this occasion the fan bases don’t hate each other just for conventions or simple geographical proximity, but there are accurate historical reasons behind the contrasts between the two Northern Italian cities.



La Dea (the Goddess) against La Leonessa (the Lioness): pills of actual football

Despite Atalanta built a bright future in these last years compared to their rivals of Brescia, with a presence in the European cups which is slowly becoming a habit, historical stats crown the Leonessa as the best team of the two in direct clashes. In all the competitions, Brescia won 23 matches, with 22 draws and 18 Atalanta wins. The same trend could be found analyzing individually only derbies played in Serie A, and the same with derbies played in Serie B. However, at the moment the Bergamo club is qualified for the UEFA Champions League quarter finals, and owns a 4th place in this current Serie A, with a media attention that the city never had football wise. We doubt that the tifosi bergamaschi would change those hard earned privileges with the current situation at Brescia, newly promoted in Serie A after a long time in the second division, and already struggling at the bottom of the league. The first derby took place in 1920, but became a regular clash between the ‘60s and the ‘70s, in either Serie A or Serie B, with the two clubs that always used to seesaw through the two divisions. This season’s derby, in the first leg of Serie A, has been the first derby in the top division in 15 years of time, and has been clearly won by Atalanta, 0-3 away from home. We don’t even think that it’s necessary to state that the away fans weren’t allowed to attend the match, with the event being one of the hottest in recent history of Italian ultras scene.

The historical roots

As said before, the rivalry between Atalanta and Brescia is not only a simple automatism, but there are precise motivations on which this grudge is put. Both the cities are nowadays strongly industrial, with citizens grown with the work culture, so in a way we can find some similarities between the two regions. However, tons of provocations and insults are easy to be found on the streets of the cities, also outside the football world, with the bergamaschi renamed as conigli (=rabbits) and the bresciani as suini (=pigs). The first news we could find through history come from the twelfth century, precisely in 1126 with the figure of Giovanni Brusati, a noble citizens of Brescia, with some possessions in the region; in order to finance a Crusade in the holy land of Israel, he decided to make some money out of those possession by selling it. In those years, the Brescia curia (a sort of regional administration) was in a deep economical crisis, and it was easy for the neighbor of Bergamo to buy the lands in question. The towns and areas in matters are still existing nowadays, and each of them had a city center with also a strategical castle. Also the area itself was and still is very strategic, with the presence of a main river dividing the two regions, and a lake split in two between Bergamo and Brescia. The keystone of this matter was a clash in 1154, with the Brescia troops defeating the Bergamo ones with a sneaky operation, causing more than 2500 deaths. A numbers of small wars and battles happened in the following years, in a context of Italy always split in hundreds of regions and ownerships, until the actual conformation earned in the nineteenth century. The localism between regions still happens nowadays, with big moments of tensions between the two cities through decades and centuries. Last but not least, for istance, the assignment of val Camonica, a valley historically owned by Brescia, to the lands of Bergamo during the Napoleonic period; despite the valley is now back to Brescia ownership, there is still a reason to discuss especially in the border towns.

What remains of an old border in the mountain community between Bergamo and Brescia, location Averara

Bridge on the river Oglio connecting the two regions

On the stands

Both clubs always had more of a regional following, than national, but they’re lucky enough to be in the most populated region in Italy, as well as one of the most crowded in Europe, Lombardy. During the years Atalanta and Brescia have had a massive support from their tifosi, falling outside the poor results on the pitch, rarely exciting on either way. Atalanta’s ultras movement finds his roots in the early ’70s, when Atalanta Commandos takes control of the curva; during the first years, the main idea is the pacifist one, resembling a family with only few faithful components. The birth of Brigate Neroazzurre in the early ‘80s unsettled all the organization chart in the Bergamo scene, transforming a passional and enjoyable tifo in a proper ultras group, idea which was very appreciated by a lot of fans, and allowed the Brigate to enlarge themselves quickly. Despite always being quite distant to proper political questions, the Atalanta tifosi often had some leftist thoughts during a lot of periods in the last decades, including nowadays. The clash between the ones supporting the idea of an apolitical curva and the ones closer to leftist propaganda still go on today, but it never exploded in violent internal riots and tensions. During these decades the curva nord always was tendentiously violent towards many rival Italian fan bases, excluding few close and twinned clubs, and always very cohesive inside, also with many examples of mutual help for the components. The few friendship (to highlight the ones with Ternana and Eintracht Frankfurt), don’t even come close to the number of rivalries, both territorial (Brescia, precisely, Inter and Milan), and historical (Torino, Napoli and Roma above the others). Alongside Atalanta fans, but on the other side of Oglio river, Brescia fanbase moved its first steps in the early ‘70s, with a meltin pot of ideas that found its first true conformation in 1979, with U*BS as the main group of the curva, immediately with a violent imprint against the neighbour of Atalanta. The early ‘90s represents the golden period for the bresciani: in each season at least a massive episode of ultras movement ended up on the first pages of all the newspapers, making Brescia a famous spot for tifo in the whole country. Invasions, fights against ultras groups in the cities centres, and a number of turbulent manifestations, preceded a period where Brescia was also a good team on the pitch, creating a lovely scenario with good football, high attendance on the stands for regular fans, and a feared curva as the previous years. Despite few antiracist declarations and positions, curva nord Brescia has always been apolitical for all the years of their movement, likely reason why there haven’t been big discrepancies in more than 40 years, in spite of the presence of few small fascist groups in the last years, always put aside by the main flow.

10 Feb 2002: Atalanta fans show banners insulting Brescia coach Carlo Mazzone during the Serie A match between Atalanta and Brescia, played at the Azzurri d”Italia Stadium, Bergamo.

Curva Nord Brescia

Memorable moments

A rivarly with such big dimensions, in a big scenario such as the Italian one, offered, offers and for sure will offer a bunch of hints and ideas for the ultras chronicles. It’s enough to think that for the return of the derby in Serie A in 2019, Atalanta fans joked on the Italian FA after some unjustified rules ahead of their away day in Brescia, and totally boycotted the match, making everyone’s eyes pointing towards this topic. Probably, a similar statement and decision would have been done also by Brescia fans for the second leg of the derby, net of the current Covid-19 situation which sentences the fans to stay out of stadiums. Some ultras references could be find already in the ‘30s, when Brescia fans managed to bring and unleash hundreds of rabbit during a derby, when the Atalanta players were coming on the pitch: a clear lure to the feelings of fear and cowardice, often associated to rabbits. Apex of the decennial ultras clash between the two bases stands the episodes of 1992/93 season; crossing the pitch of Stadio Mario Rigamonti, Brescia ultras managed to reach the away end, full of Atalanta fans, stealing dozens of scarves and banners, burning most of them. Atalanta’s reaction of course didn’t fail to arrive, and consisted in the exact same treatment. All the attentions on the match moved on the ultras chronicle, with more than twenty injuries and wounded brought to the hospital, dozens of DASPOs (stadium bans) and various complaints. Also, to add to the list, the unexpected and loud resignations from both chairmains and boards of the two clubs, not understanding so much brutality and violent, and to stay away from all the events. Many other clashes and dark days also followed always through this “style”, but for the non-violent fringes of the support, light hearted irony surely is the principal element of this rivarly. Pigs brought in curvas with the rivals colours on them, historical celebration runs from old and white haired managers under the rival sector after a late draw, and many other contentions and clashes on dialect, history and tradition.

Carlo Mazzone, Brescia manager runs towards the away sector after a late draw and becoming the enemy number 1 for the upcoming years.

Smoke from the burnt material in the legendary 1993 clash

Long life and prosperity to Atalanta-Brescia, a rivarly which between devotion, history and Italian localism will always be a massive example for all the ultras world.

Last year the guys from Copa90 made a nice documentary on this rivalry.


Since a few weeks football is slowly coming back, but sadly most of the matches are now played behind closed doors. If there is one thing that this whole crisis taught us is that football without its fans is absolutely worth nothing. Maybe the saddest thing we’ve seen is the urge of some broadcasters, for example in Germany and Spain who try to recreate fan atmosphere with recorded crowd sound and other forms of artificial support. Fans are hard to replace by these kind of fake things. All this led to discussions inside the European fan scene: leading to a joint statement published by Fans Europe (an independent, democratic, non-profit association of football fans). Read the full statement down below:

The recent return of football behind closed doors has demonstrated that fans are the lifeblood of the game. Their presence in the stands has been sorely missed, and the spectacle we are accustomed to has been absent without them. It is therefore more important now than ever for supporters to be included in discussions that will determine the immediate and long-term future of the game.

These discussions should revolve around three core pillars.

First, the safe return of spectators. The impact of the virus is not evenly distributed—different countries have understandably adopted different measures at different times. Still, the health of players, staff, fans, and the general public must always come first. This means minimising the risk of the virus spreading in all settings. UEFA, national leagues, and football associations have acted in line with this principle, but it must remain our foremost concern. To this end, the return of spectators to stadia must be accompanied by a meaningful consultation with fans’ representatives at every level of the game on health safety protocols and other operational measures.

Second, a recognition that the contribution made by fans is irreplaceable. As such, we have significant concerns regarding attempts by broadcasters to replace or imitate the unique atmosphere produced by fans. Augmented reality technology, pre-recorded chants, and other forms of artificial support represent a rebuke to match-going fans. Empty stadia are a direct consequence of a public health crisis that has impacted every single one of us and the absence of fans cannot be compensated for by a computer simulation aimed at the amusement of television audiences.

Third, multi-stakeholder dialogue on the future of football. The coronavirus crisis has yet again shown that the current model of football is flawed, unfair, and unsustainable. Football needs to change dramatically. And it needs to change for the better. Any reform process must include fan representatives, on a local, national, and European level. Fans must be engaged and involved in decisions that relate to the wider future of the game, including the necessary overhaul of governance structures and financial regulations.

There can be no “return to normal.” Lasting change is needed to make the game sustainable from top to bottom, and fans stand ready to play a part in shaping that change.

Signed By:

Football Supporters Europe (FSE)

Belgian Supporters – Belgium

Danske Fodbold Fans (DFF) – Denmark

Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) – England

Suomen Maajoukkueen Kannattajat (SMJK) – Finland

Association Nationale des Supporters (ANS) – France

Irrésistibles Français (IF) – France

Bundesbehindertenfanarbeitsgemeinschaft (BBAG) – Germany

Bündnis Aktiver Fußballfans (BAFF) – Germany

Netzwerk Frauen im Fußball (F_IN) – Germany

ProFans – Germany

Queer Football Fanclubs (QFF) – Germany

Unsere Kurve (UK) – Germany

Supporterscollectief Nederland – Netherlands

Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs (AONISC) – Northern Ireland

Norsk Supporterallianse (NSA) – Norway

Associação Portuguesa de Defesa do Adepto (APDA) – Portugal

Confederation of Republic of Ireland Supporters Clubs (CRISC) – Republic of Ireland

Irish Supporters Network (ISN) – Republic of Ireland

You Boys in Green (YBIG) – Republic of Ireland

Association of Tartan Army Clubs (ATAC) – Scotland

Supporters Direct Scotland – Scotland

Federación de Accionistas y Socios del Fútbol Español (FASFE) – Spain

Svenska Fotbollssupporterunionen (SFSU) – Sweden

Taraftar Hakları Dayanışma Derneği (Taraf-Der) – Turkey

Taraftar Hakları Derneği (THD) – Turkey

FSA Cymru – Wales



Previously we published joint statements by the German fan scene and the Austrian fan scene. But today a statement came out signed by 90+ groups across Europe, pointing out perfectly the current situation and what needs to change in nowadays football “Industry”. The statement is mostly signed by groups in Italy, but also by groups from Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Bosnia, Portugal, Austria and Romania!

Here’s the complete statement;

Europe is under the attack of Coronavirus.
Governments declared various total lockdown to preserve the most precious thing we own: personal health, first target for everyone.
For this reason we think it’s more than right to think about a general stop of the whole European football scene.

The ones that handle this topic instead, only had one thing in mind: RESTART.
We are firmly sure that on the pitch you would only find economical interests, a confirmation that we can also find in the fact that the restart would be behind closed doors, without the beating heart of this “sport of the people”: THE TIFOSI.

For us is more than legit to think that money supremacy climbed once again on top of the value of human life.

For these reasons we firmly ask to all the organs in this matters to keep still all the football fixtures, until stadiums could once again be full as usual, without hurting collective health.

If the whole football system finds itself in such difficulties, all the fault has to be because of the management in the last decades. A bad management which we always pointed our fingers at, as it was the only way to preserve and protect the most beautiful sport in the world.

Nowadays football is considered as an “industry” more than a sport; where pay-tv keep in check all the clubs, dealing with their tv rights, allowing clubs themselved to pay exagerrated salaries to players, also giving the opportunity of making money to “shark” managers, with the only target to get a full wallet. A system based exclusively on business and personal interests, which unless it will be changed quickly, will bring us to an only possible ending: DEATH OF FOOTBALL ITSELF.

We also wanna make clear that if us ultras wanted to make any money out of our passion, as we saw written and speaked by some medias in these days, we would also rush for leagues restart, unless fighting for the opposite, going against all the football system and everyone involved.

All of this has to change.
We are ready to face who’s in charge of this in order to bring football back to more glorious days, and coming back to live this great passion by bringing football back to be the “SPORT OF THE PEOPLE”


Check out an overview of the groups who signed the statement;



Via Sostieni La Curva

While the Dutch and the French FA have decided to end the current season, the 2019/2020 Bundesliga season is set to continue at the end of this month according the plans of the DFB. Matches will be played behind closed doors, known as “Geisterspiele” (ghost games) in German. Numerous fan and ultra groups have already spoken out against the resumption of football in the current situation, with individual statements and by displaying banners across their cities.

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Just like the fan scene in Austria, Germany’s fan scene joined forces and published a joint statement last week. But the Germans mention a deeper problem in nowadays football.

The question when and in what form professional football should continue has been the subject of many discussions in the past few weeks. In this still partly confusing social situation, a variety of ethical, epidemiological and other arguments were put forward by various people.

In the following, we would like to comment on the topic as a nationwide association of fan scenes and with a view to the DFL general assembly:

The resumption of football, also in the form of ghost games, is not justifiable in the current situation – especially not under the guise of social responsibility. An early continuation of the season would be a mockery of the rest of society and especially those who are really committed to serving the corona crisis. Professional football has long been sick enough and should remain in quarantine.

Football is of great importance in Germany, but it is certainly not systemically important. Restrictions that apply to comparable areas of the sports and entertainment industry must also apply in football. At a time when we are all accepting very massive restrictions on our fundamental rights in the interests of the common good, it is out of the question for the Bundesliga to play. If a lack of capacity in CoVid 19 tests has been reported for weeks, the idea of ​​screening football players for the virus at extremely high frequencies is simply absurd. Not to mention the practice of a football match with physical contact. 

The talk of social responsibility and plans for exclusive test contingents (over 20,000 pieces) for professional football do not go together. We understand that club officials have legal obligations to act in the financial interests of their club. However, in a situation in which the entire society and economy face enormous challenges, it is incomprehensible to us that apparently all concerns are put aside when it comes to keeping the game going as long as possible or starting again.

Obviously, professional football has much deeper problems. A system into which sums of money beyond the imagination of many people have flowed in recent years is on the verge of collapse. The preservation of the structures is completely dependent on the flow of television funds, the clubs only exist in a total dependence on the rights holders.

The question of why, despite all the millions, there seems to be no sustainability in professional football, how the structures and clubs can be made more robust and crisis-proof in the future, has at least not been asked by any official. The only communicated goal is to get on with it as quickly as possible, which, however, only guarantees a manageable number of participants with outstanding income. In most cases, we simply regard the talk of tens of thousands of jobs as an excuse to continue securing exorbitant millions of earnings for a few extreme profiteers. This can also be seen in the absolute inactivity of the DFB, with regard to football below the 2nd Bundesliga. The fact that ghost games have much more serious consequences here than in the DFL leagues is ignored. The main thing is that the “premium product” can continue to exist. Here, the DFB not only does not fulfill its role, it also repeatedly shows whose interests it represents.

“Obviously, professional football has much deeper problems. A system into which sums of money beyond the imagination of many people have flowed in recent years is on the verge of collapse. The preservation of the structure is completely dependent on the flow of television funds, the clubs only exist in a total dependence on the rights holders.”

For years, fans have been demanding reforms for a fairer distribution of TV revenues and criticized the lack of solidarity between large and small clubs. We point out financial excesses, insufficient reserves and the sometimes blackmailing role of player advisors. We have repeatedly demonstrated the risk of dependence on individual large donors using examples such as 1860 Munich, Carl Zeiss Jena and others.

At the latest, it is high time that football officials seriously deal with these points. The current challenge is also an opportunity: associations should understand this crisis as such and fundamentally change the structures of modern football. It’s about time!

In this context we demand:

-The current DFL plan to resume the season in May in the form of ghost games must not be implemented. We do not presume to decide when the ball can roll again. However, in a situation in which football would so decouple from the rest of society, it must not happen.

-A factual examination of the current situation must be accelerated and a move away from the blind saving of TV money must be made. A possible termination of the season should not be a taboo, unless the social circumstances allow it otherwise. In this case, not only should horror scenarios in the form of impending bankruptcies be outlined, but solutions in the form of promotional loans, extended insolvency periods and other crisis instruments that the rest of the economy is facing should also be discussed.

-A future solution must be based on solidarity. There must be no crisis winners and losers among the clubs. The gap between “large” and “small” must not widen further. We expressly include the clubs of the third division and the regional leagues for which ghost games are not an option anyway.

-The discussion of fundamental reforms to make professional football more sustainable and economically crisis-proof must start now. It must not only be run by fans and journalists, but is the central task of those responsible for the clubs and associations. Structures and associations must be brought back on a financially and ideally secure basis. The 50 + 1 rule must remain unaffected.

The phase of a football world completely decoupled from the rest of society must come to an end!

Germany’s fan scenes, April 2020


The Austrian FA is planning to restart the Bundesliga behind closed doors due the current Corona outbreak. Today several ultra/fan groups in Austria came out with a joint statement about the so called upcoming ‘Ghost Matches’.

Read the full statement below:

Unfortunately, we are currently unable to live out our love of sport and our clubs in the stadium. None of us like that, but we have to go through this together temporarily. We are fully aware of the current exceptional situation – both socially and from a football perspective. However, we are not so sure about this when it comes to decision-makers in Austrian football. One thing is beyond question: the economic situation of many clubs is tense; The majority of the professional clubs are reportedly insolvent from September at the latest. In addition, UEFA is exerting great pressure on the national leagues and the TV partners are also very interested in the continuation of advertising campaigns. And also a lot of football fans, who usually go to their club’s home games,

These circumstances mean that the decision-makers take the holding of ghost games as a matter of course and without any discussion. Football should therefore only take place indefinitely (in the worst case far beyond the summer) only when the public is excluded. This option is argued by the officials with fairness and the idea of ​​competition. The conclusion of the Bundesliga and thus the allocation of the European Cup seats should therefore be pursued by sport. However, this fairness does not seem to apply to the clubs below the Bundesliga, which are vitally important promotions and relegations – a very clear pretext. The truth is contracts that contain money – lots of money.

A paradigm shift is currently continuing through the back door “Covid-19”, which began in England in the 1990s: football no longer takes place in the stadium for fans, but for television. As a billion-dollar money machine and playground for some empires that can only survive if it is kept running. “No standstill at any cost” currently seems to be the general formula. The grandstand visitor, the fan, is now only the surface for TV broadcasts. The emotions are supposed to sell the product better, but in no way disturb the transmission and the show. Decisions made by video referees, for example, only have to be understood by the audience in front of the television – no consideration is given to the emotions in the stadium.

The public’s great interest is cited as a further argument for continuing the league with ghost games, as it is just now necessary that “an important piece of normalcy returns for people”. Just stupid that the cat literally bites its tail in this context, at least in Austria. Blinded by the money, the TV rights of the league are known to have been moved to pay TV. Again, nothing with mass phenomenon and social responsibility. The subscription numbers of the rights holder will at least let the cash register ring there. We congratulate.

Professional football has engaged in an unholy alliance of windy investors, TV marketing and dubious player advisors in recent decades. Even corruption at the highest association level became normal. In Qatar, people are constantly dying for a World Cup that not a single football fan wants there. From a moral point of view, there is hardly any room left for the football business globally.

At the national level, too, the current approach is a fatal signal that is being sent to society. Many areas of public life are still severely restricted, while a lot of energy is invested in training and ghost games by Bundesliga clubs. Even though it is currently said on every corner that none of this has any impact on other areas of life (keyword: PCR tests), the fact remains that all other team and ball sports have ceased their championship operations and canceled their competitions.

“As a billion-dollar money machine and playground for some empires that can only survive if it is kept running. “No standstill at any cost” currently seems to be the general formula.”

With this special status that cannot be disputed away, professional football is increasingly saying goodbye to its base. Football is more than ever a popular mass phenomenon worldwide. It embodies exactly this symbiosis between players, coaches and fans, which can spark an energy like in no other sport. Even a number of players and coaches have now critically remarked that ghost games would develop “maximum test character” for them – in the awareness of this peculiarity of football. We can only underline that. Nevertheless, the round leather should roll on under sometimes insane conditions. Players should not run into the stadium together, but “fight” against each other on the field or wear masks during the game. These are just two examples of absurd ideas that are currently haunting around.

Another important aspect comes into play in this discussion: Football must be affordable for all social classes. The fan scenes of the individual football clubs have been vehemently campaigning for moderate ticket prices for years. And this is especially true in the current time when hundreds of thousands suffer from short-time work and unemployment. Due to the current situation, we have to temporarily adjust our request: The league, the clubs and all decision-makers have to ensure that for the time of this exceptional situation, every fan can watch all games without an additional subscription contract with a TV station. This service must be free of charge for current season ticket holders! The process is to be carried out by those who benefit from the fact that football was hidden behind the payment barrier, namely the league,

The Bundesliga and the ÖFB must now work together with the government on concepts for how football can be played in front of stadium spectators as soon as possible in accordance with health and legal requirements. Everything else is just a helpless attempt to keep an already sick system alive so that the football business can continue for a few. Especially for teams that are not currently playing in the professional field, ghost games are not even a sensible alternative even temporarily. In the third, fourth or fifth league, games without fans make no economic sense.

And as far as ideas from cardboard figures, fan apps or other pipe cracks in ghost games are concerned, we have only one answer: Anyone who wants ghost games should also be presented as the bare truth. Anything else would not be authentic and should therefore be strictly rejected!

It is high time to think about the general development of football. Now is the right time to take appropriate measures to make yourself less dependent on sponsors and TV stations. Perhaps this difficult situation is the chance to return to a healthier path. Football must become more independent again and say goodbye to this obviously broken business model. It is time to focus on those who are the backbone of football – the fans. Our support is certain for the people involved in this project.

Altacher Jungs – Block West – Fanszene Austria Klagenfurt – Fanszene Ried –Fanszene Vorwärts Steyr – Friends of the Friedhofstribüne – Gate 2 Admira –
Kollektiv 1909 – Landstrassler – Nordtribüne Lustenau – Stahlstadt Kollektiv – Tivoli Nord – Union ’99 Ultrà Salzburg – Vienna Supporters – Wolf Brigade 04 St. Pölten