When a tragedy happens in football, two things can be pretty certain.
Firstly, fans from all clubs will come together to express their sorrow and sympathy, with many even giving practical help when possible.
Secondly, a very small minority of idiots will, likely after drinking more alcohol than they can handle, try to use the event to rile opponents and make themselves look edgy.
This is what happened when Southampton faced Cardiff City at the weekend, with a couple of the crowd making plane gestures, which was clearly meant as a reference to Emiliano Sala.
This has been covered around the world’s media. There’s no escaping that it’s been a bad news story for Southampton, the pictures have spread and it doesn’t look good.
But Gazzetta dello Sport have taken an aspect of it to praise what the reaction was, explaining that could have never happened in Italy.
Not only were the individuals identified on camera, but stewards were sent in to remove them, and they’re now facing the appropriate action.
The ‘manifestation of macabre mockery’ saw the two men handed over to police, but it would have been different in an Italian stadium.
Gazzetta explain: ‘Let’s try to imagine the same scene in Italy. Sorry, it’s impossible. Unfortunately, such an imbecility would risk becoming viral, within a few seconds a piece of the stadium could follow the “promoters of the initiative”. The sense of impunity, the certainty that the penalty, or similar things, will be collective, never individual. A piece of the curve is racist to a black player? The whole curve is closed, if not the whole stadium, and no attempt is made to focus on faces, names and surnames. All guilty, no guilty. And then there is the question of stewards. In England they are untouchable figures, rebelling against them is tantamount to resisting a police officer.’
The Italian newspaper end their article by explaining Cardiff got a late winner against Southampton: ‘The wrong actions come back as a boomerang, to somehow hit those who committed them. Karma does not forgive.’
It’s frustrating for the vast majority of Southampton fans that this incident has reflected badly on the club, but Gazzetta show there’s at least one positive.