QUESTION: Why is there buttock stabbing in Rome?
Manchester United fans are in Rome for the Champions League final. When English teams have visited the Italian capital in recent years there have been a string of fans stabbed in the buttocks by hooligans. But why do they target the backside? Other than the fact that United plays dirty so why shouldn’t their fans?
It’s called the Eternal City by many, but Rome also has the sobriquet “Stab City” among football fans because of the level of knife attacks in the Italian capital.
There are fears tonight’s Champions League final, being held in the city’s Olympic Stadium, will be marred by such violence after several knife-related attacks on supporters from a number of English clubs over the last decade.
What is marked about the attacks is that victims are often stabbed in the buttocks. The practice even has its own slang name in the local Roman dialect – “puncicate”. But why is the backside targeted?
ANSWER: It is a painful, humiliating injury but not likely to be life threatening.
In medieval duels stabbing someone in the buttocks was considered the most skillful move
According to those who have researched the subject, a stab wound in the buttocks may be chosen as it is seen as not likely to be life-threatening, but is humiliating and painful for the victim.
Experts believe the cultural tradition may even be linked to medieval duelling where slashing an opponent’s buttocks was supposedly considered very skillful.
“Puncicate” is mainly about hurting rival fans but not killing them, says John Foot, a professor of modern Italian history at University College London and an author on Italian football.
Update: I’m happy to report there were no buttock-stabbings at Brits Pub while I was there watching the game.