During the decade of 1930 Italy appeared as a new superpower in European football challenged the English supremacy. Until 1930’s the English had considered themselves as motherland of football and as the best “football” nation. During 1930’s football matches between England and Italy were matches between the two leading football powers. The conflict in international politics between two different political systems or ideologies transferred in football field. The Fascist Italy challenged the hegemony of the Liberal Democratic England in football and the successes during 1930’s in international level was success of Fascism against the Liberal Democracy at the time when rise of Fascism constituted threat for Liberal Democratic states in Europe. That was like a political football and football stadium was another battleground between them. Also political football continued in club level, when the Italian club Bologna won the English club Chelsea in the 1937 Paris Exhibition tournament and was considered as a fascist victory over Liberal Democracy. (Europe, Sport World: Shaping Global Societies, p.246-248)
1930’s was the glorious decade for Italian football. Successes of the national team increased the prestige of the fascist regime. During this period, football superiority exploited by the fascist government in order to fanaticize the masses that Italy was supreme nation. Through successes of the Italian national team, the citizens shared a sense of single national identity regardless their different forms of identification like region in the case of Italy with the rivalry between the industrialized North and underdeveloped South. Because of this rivalry within Italian nation-state, Fascist government wanted to intervene in sports with aim the promoting of national identity and unity. All the Italians connected under this emotional sense of unity and success and made them to say “we are as nation” (Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies, p.452-453).
Italy hosted and won the 1934 World Cup. Some players of Argentina and Uruguay who played in 1928 Olympics and 1930 World Cup were born from Italian emigrants. The fascists gave to these players Italian citizenship in order to be able to play in Italian national team in the next world cup of 1934. Mussolini characterized these players as repatriates. This attempt was realized in order to maximize the opportunities of national team to win the World Cup of 1934 in Italy. After 1934 Italian national team continued to have successes and maximize more the prestige of fascist regime when two years later won the football tournament in 1936 Berlin Olympics with players from Universities, something that proved the nation’s international football supremacy. Four years later in 1938, Europe was one year before the start of the Second World War. Italy as World Champion defended the title in France and won again the World Cup. So the 1930’s was the Italian decade of successes in football and also the decade when football abroad promoted as fascist game. The successes of Italy in international level indicated the correct organization of the fascist state and that Fascism succeeded to regenerate the Italian nation. During the 1930’s victories in international football was a result of regeneration of Italians based on the discipline that Fascism learned to them. (Football and Fascism: The national game under Mussolini, Martin S., p.194-197)
A club that was founded during the Fascist era in Italy was Fiorentina. Football teams of Florence city had failed until this time to make people to feel unity under one and strong Florence team. So based on Fascists policy to create a strong football team in each Italian city AC Fiorentina was founded in 26 of August 1926. The merger of the two principal Florentine teams achieved the sport renaissance in Florence city. The creation of single identity via strong football team revitalized the city and put Florence on the Italian sporting map. Calcio fiorentino or Florentine football transformed and Florence achieved to have a football club that was able to compete the other Italian teams in a new national league. (Football and Fascism: The national game under Mussolini, Martin S., p.141-142)
However the Roman club S.S. Lazio had Fascist origin and close relationships with the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. Societá sportiva (S.S.) Lazio was founded in 1900 by Italian army officers, so the club had militaristic ideals and when Fascists came to power gave assistance for militarization of society. The club fans the Irriducibili express their racist and anti-Semitic feelings that indicate the fascist beliefs of Roman club. When Lazio plays against clubs with left-wing beliefs they shout fascist slogans and until today they use flags with Nazi’s swastika and fascist symbolisms. Also some connected the name of club S.S. (which means societá sportiva) with the Nazis S.S. as a result of the club’s fascist beliefs. Beliefs that are strongly connected with a kind of clear Italian race and exclusion of blacks and Jews players from the team. The Lazio ultras Irriducibili had the fear that Italians will become a mixing race like in England with other races in future. The former International French player Liliam Thuram pointed out the racist behavior of Lazio’s fans. When he was player of Parma, he refused to transfer in Lazio because of the Irriducibili’s racist behavior against the blacks. The fans when the opponent club belongs to left-wing ideology, they say right-wing military songs and they remember the days of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Also they shout Mussolini’s title Duce in order to provoke the fans of opponent club. Irriducibili ultras are against Negros and Jews as Mussolini and Hitler when at the era of their power they were official against the “sub-humans” Negros and Jews. So this racist and anti-Semitic behavior has its origin back to the era of Fascist Italy that the Lazio’s fans feel nostalgia. (Irriducibili | BBC Documentary | Lazio Ultras, Casuals, Football Hooligans).