Italian police banned football fan for slapping journalist on TV

The incident on Saturday prompted anger and solidarity with the reporter.

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New Delhi: Italian police have banned a football fan from sporting events for three years after he allegedly slapped the bottom of a female reporter live on TV.

The man was filmed moving his hand towards Greta Beccaglia as she faced the camera after a Serie A football match in Florence.

The incident on Saturday prompted anger and solidarity with the reporter.

Ms Beccaglia of Toscana TV filed a harassment complaint against the man, who is under police investigation.

“You can’t do that, I’m sorry,” the journalist said to the man in the video, as fans streamed out of the stadium after Empoli’s 2-1 win over Fiorentina.

Moments later, TV anchorman Giorgio Micheletti told Ms Beccaglia not to get cross about the incident during the broadcast. Mr Micheletti was criticised for the comment and Toscana TV said he was taking a “professional break” from the programme.

Mr Micheletti said he was trying to defend Ms Beccaglia and apologised for “the unfortunate words I used in the frantic moment of Saturday’s live broadcast”.

Ms Beccaglia also accused another man of trying to touch her in an incident that was not filmed.

Saturday’s incident came as Italy’s top league and its players were taking part in a campaign denouncing violence against women. All players wore a red mark on their faces as a sign of solidarity against harassment.

The alleged assailant has been named as Fiorentina fan Andrea Serrani.

He could face criminal charges and the police commissioner of Florence has issued an exclusion order against him. The order, known as a Daspo, prohibits him from entering places where sporting events take place for three years.

In an interview on Italian TV, Mr Serrani said he had made a mistake and apologised to Ms Beccaglia but denied his actions amounted to sexism.

He had made the gesture in a moment of anger after his team’s defeat, he explained.

But in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper, Ms Beccaglia said Mr Serrani’s comments had left her speechless.

“Do you really think you haven’t done anything wrong?” she asked.

She said she hoped her case would prove useful “because women need to be better protected” in Italy.

Toscana TV said it would support Ms Beccaglia as she pursued legal action.

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