An England fan has been banned from entering Euro 2024 qualifying in Italy after displaying an offensive message on the St George’s Cross flag. The fan’s flag carried the message “Diego’s In A Box”, which makes reference to the late Diego Maradona, a former Napoli legend who died in 2020. The message was also chanted by some visiting fans during the first half of the game, which A England won 2-1. Maradona is beloved in Naples for guiding Napoli to two league titles and the UEFA Cup, and the city’s stadium is named after him.
Home fans quickly took to social media to track down the fan who displayed the offensive message, and the Football Association (FA) moved quickly to cancel his ticket before the match. In a statement, the FA condemned the fan’s actions, calling the message “highly offensive”.
Prior to the match, Italian police in riot gear escorted England fans from the stadium, with some footage showing supporters arguing with authorities on social media. The incident highlights the need for fans to show respect and good sportsmanship during matches, especially when visiting a city where a deceased football icon is revered. The FA’s swift action in canceling the supporter’s ticket demonstrates their commitment to ensuring that such incidents are dealt with quickly and properly.