For the Europa League match between Feyenoord Rotterdam and Rome, six Dutch police officers had been sent to Rome to assist 100 Italian police officers already present . Hooligans supporting the Feyenoord Rotterdam football club damaged the recently renovated fountain of Bernini, the Barcaccia (leaky old boat). Approximately 30 hooligans were arrested .
Eric Gudde, the general director of Feyenoord, said he felt ‘disgust and shame’ after the incident. But UEFA will not discipline Feyenoord, as ‘they can do nothing about it’. Really, UEFA, is this the best you can do? For a start, how about making a symbolic gesture, and pay for the damage? Then, why not exclude hooligans from all matches?
Bernini’s fountain was built in 1627-29. In 1644, cardinal and poet Maffeo Barberini, who later became Pope Urbano VIII, wrote the following poem:
'The papal warship does not pour forth flames, but sweet water to extinguish the fire of war.'
Maybe hooligans could be given a copy of Urbano’s poems, and only released from jail once they have translated them.