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Dutch students raise €3k for Rome fountain

Dutch students on Monday donated €3,200 to restore Rome's Barcaccia Fountain, which was damaged last month by rampaging football fans from the Netherlands.

Dutch students raise €3k for Rome fountain
Damage to the Barcaccia Fountain has been put at €1.2 million. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Students from the Celeanum Gymnasium, in the Dutch city of Zwolle, presented the donation to city hall representatives standing alongside the baroque fountain, which sits next to the Spanish Steps in Rome’s historical centre.

Paolo Masini, councillor for sport, thanked the students for the “great lesson of civility which has come from your classrooms”.

“As we well know, the Dutch love Rome and those hooligans are an absolute minority,” Masini was quoted in Il Messaggero as saying.

An estimated €5 million in damages was caused by Feyenoord fans who tore through the city ahead of their team’s game against Roma last month. Damage to the Barcaccia Fountain, which recently underwent costly renovation, has been put at €1.2 million.

A restoration company from the Netherlands has since offered its services for free to the city, saying it was “shocked by what happened” at the hands of the Dutch fans.

READ MORE: Dutch firm offers to restore Rome after riot

At least four fundraising websites have been set up in the wake of the thuggery, raising around €25,000 for the city.

They include the Scusa Roma (Sorry Rome) crowdfunding page, set up by a Dutch woman living in Italy, which to date has received over €11,000 in donations.

READ MORE: Dutch raise funds to apologize for Rome riot

Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

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FOOTBALL

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players’ ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome

Italy’s national football team reportedly insisted on taking an open-top bus tour through Rome to show off their European Championship trophy to crowds of fans - despite city authorities forbidding it amid concern about the spread of coronavirus.

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players' ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The team’s bus parade through the city on Monday night following their Euro 2020 triumph “was not authorised”, according to Matteo Piantedosi the head of Rome’s prefettura (the public safety authority).

Thousands of fans packed the streets of central Rome to see the team celebrate their cup win after beating England on penalties in the final.

READ ALSO: ‘Football came home’: Italy celebrates Euro 2020 victory over England

Piantedosi told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday: “We had denied permission to celebrate Italy’s victory in the European Championships on the open bus, but the pact was not respected.”

Piantedosi, who is Rome’s top public security official, said police had “no choice” but to let the parade go ahead after players Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci insisted on it.

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

A meeting had been held on Friday with the Italian football federation (FIGC) to discuss plans for the celebrations if Italy won, said Piantedosi.

“I had agreed the line with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Chief of Police Lamberto Giannini,” he said.

“It was clearly explained that [the parade] was not possible. We said we could not authorize it.”

Piantedosi said the Italian football federation (FIGC) initially agreed to hold a “controlled” ceremony in Rome’s central Piazza del Popolo instead of the parade.

After players insisted on the bus tour on Monday however, Piantedosi said, authorities reluctantly let them go ahead due to fears of sparking public disorder.

“At that point we had no choice but to acknowledge the situation and handle it in the best way we could,” he said.

READ ALSO: Covid cases on the rise in Europe once again as WHO warns of Euro 2020 risk

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

In a statement on Wednesday, the FIGC said it had acted responsibly but decided not to disappoint fans who had come to celebrate with the team.

Footage of large crowds thronging the bus carrying the ‘Azzurri’ and the European Championship trophy through the capital however fuelled concerns about new outbreaks of coronavirus, after Italy’s infection rate began to rise again last week.

The World Health Organization warned earlier this month that crowds and gatherings connected to football matches will fuel a new rise in cases across Europe this summer.

READ ALSO: Delta variant in Italy will be ‘prevalent within 10 days’: health official

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza also voiced concerns on Monday about the consequences of people gathering to watch sporting events.

He said the European football championship win was “a great joy after terrible months,” but “even in these moments of national pride we can’t forget that our ‘game’ to defeat Covid is not yet won.”

There are currently minimal health restrictions in place across Italy, however masks are supposed to be worn in crowded public places, including outdoors.

“Footage shows that police were virtually the only ones [in the crowd] wearing masks,” said Piantedosi.

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