Contested Meanings: The Italian Media and the UltraS

Review of European Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1

10 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2016 Last revised: 3 May 2018

See all articles by Alberto Testa

Alberto Testa

University of West London - Ealing Law School

Date Written: June 19, 2010


Despite their presence in Italian football stadiums, the UltraS have been the subject of limited empirical research. I use the capital S to identify neo-fascist oriented fans to distinguish them from the wider football supporters ultra’ (Testa and Armstrong 2008; Testa 2009; Testa and Armstrong 2010a). This study is part of a series of publications to fill in this lacuna; it is part of an ethnographic research project carried out from 2003 to 2009. The research aimed to analyze the UltraS social world using as a sample two hardcore subculture of fans at the two main Rome football clubs - AS Roma and SS Lazio. With neo-fascist sympathies, these groups -the Boys at Roma and the Irriducibili at Lazio- are political and well-organized (Testa and Armstrong, 2010a).

The present paper focuses on the relationship between the UltraS and the Italian media; the media are often considered by the UltraS as enemies because believed to be biased against them. To complement the ethnographic data, three renowned Italian sports journalists were interviewed in 2008. One was Franco Arturi, deputy director of La Gazzetta dello Sport, which is the most established and popular of the Italian sport newspapers. Another was Giuseppe Tassi, a sport journalist and deputy director of (internet edition of the Resto del Carlino, La Nazione and Il Giorno editorial group). The third was Gabriele Marcotti, journalist for the British The Times and the popular Italian daily IL Corriere dello Sport. Analysis stresses the importance of media coverage in influencing the UltraS deviant dynamics and suggests, considering the experiences of other European countries, a reduction of media attention towards the UltraS as a strategy to contain this phenomenon.

Keywords: Hooliganism, Media, UltraS, Violence, Italy

Suggested Citation

Testa, Alberto, Contested Meanings: The Italian Media and the UltraS (June 19, 2010). Review of European Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1, Available at SSRN: or

Alberto Testa (Contact Author)

University of West London - Ealing Law School ( email )

St Mary's Road
London, W5 5RF
United Kingdom

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