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Overjoyed AS Roma owner James Pallotta apologizes for frolicking in Rome fountain

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Overjoyed AS Roma owner James Pallotta apologizes for frolicking in Rome fountain
The Fontana dei Leoni in Piazza del Popolo, where AS Roma chairman James Pallotta took a celebratory dip. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
14:48 CEST+02:00
The billionaire chairman of AS Roma, James Pallotta, has apologized to the mayor of Rome after he was spotted celebrating his team's surprise victory over Barcelona by leaping into a city fountain.

Pallotta, born in the United States to southern Italian parents, promised to pay a fine for his late-night dip in the Fontana dei Leoni in Rome's Piazza del Popolo, where he and a large crowd of fans held an impromptu victory party on Tuesday to mark the 3-0 win that sent Roma through to the the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in over 30 years.

His backward somersault into the fountain was met with huge cheers from the jubilant supporters, who until now have not had an especially warm relationship with the American businessman and his three other investor partners who together own the capital's eponymous football club.

Consumer association Codacons took a dimmer view of the stunt, however, complaining to the city authorities over what it called Pallotta's "thoughtless and inappropriate act".

READ ALSO: Rome erupts in celebration after 'historic' comeback against Barca

The group accused Pallotta of setting "a terrible example to millions of young people who follow football and Roma, and who should be taught to respect public patrimony and heritage", pointing out that bathing in Rome's historic fountains is banned by city ordinances and carries a €500 fine.

Pallotta called Mayor Virginia Raggi on Wednesday to offer his apologies and assure that he would pay the penalty, Ansa reported. 

"Pallotta said sorry, he did it in a moment of excitement," Raggi told the press. "He understands the example he has to give, and he'll pay the fine."

Pallotta, who made his fortune running the Raptor private investment group, has also offered to donate €230,000 towards the restoration of another Roman fountain, the Fontana del Pantheon in front of the capital's ancient former temple.


Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Rome regularly hands out fines to locals and tourists alike caught dipping in its famous fountains.

In the summer months, when the temptation to cool off in the city's water features is greatest, the council stations designated monitors by the Trevi fountain and others to watch out for rogue bathers.

In 2015, supporters of Dutch club Feyenoord damaged the Barcaccia fountain at the foot of the Spanish Steps, filling it with empty bottles, cans and other detritus.

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Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
 

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