Football

Derby day atmosphere dented?

Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT) December 20, 2013
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The Milan derby between Inter and AC is one of the stand out fixtures in world football, attracting a fierce atmosphere between city rivals who share the same San Siro stadium. Getty Images/file
.The San Siro becomes a wall of color and noise when the two bitter rivals meet, but as they prepare to clash for the first time this season on Sunday, the Italian league has decreed part of the stadium will be closed. Getty Images/file
The closure is punishment for offensive chants aimed at Napoli fans by Inter supporters during their match last weekend. It means a banner a group of their most vociferous fans were working on will not be displayed. Getty Images/file
The Italian Football Federation decided in August to introduce stadium closures for incidents of territorial discrimination rather than the usual fines. This puts too much power in the hands of a club's hardcore fans, according to Juventus president Andrea Agnelli. Getty Images/file
Agnelli said that while neither were acceptable, it was important to distinguish between city and regional turf wars and racism. "Italy is the land of the 1,000 boroughs," he told CNN. "There is rivalry between two boroughs that are 50 meters away and they don't talk to each other." AFP/Getty Images
Some Inter fans have decided to boycott the game in response to the partial stadium closure, and have asked their AC counterparts to do the same. Getty Images/file
Italy has had to deal with plenty of negative headlines in recent years. Perhaps the most high profile incident came when then-Milan player Kevin-Prince Boateng left the field during a match with lower league side Pro Patria because of racist chanting from the stands. Alberto Lingria/AFP/Getty Images/file
Boateng's protest caused football's authorities to step up their efforts to tackle the problem and the now Schalke player was invited to sit on a racism and discrimination task force, set up by soccer's world governing body FIFA. He also met with FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images/file
Milan striker Mario Balotelli, and Boateng, were racially abused by Roma fans during a match in May that was temporarily suspended because of the chanting. Claudio Villa/Getty Images
The Milan derby always provokes passion but, with part of the stadium closed, its notoriously fierce atmosphere could well be muted on Sunday. OLIVIER MORINAFP/Getty Images/file