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 prefecture (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.
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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.
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.
Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza also voiced concerns on Monday about the consequences of people going on holiday and gathering to watch sporting events.
He said the European football championship 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.