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Dirty Tackle

73-year-old Bastia official begins hunger strike in protest of fans’ stadium ban

Ryan Bailey
Dirty Tackle

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Jo Bonavita's audition for the Bastia calendar shoot went well (corsematin.com)

Jo Bonavita's audition for the Bastia calendar shoot went well (corsematin.com)

Ligue 1 side Bastia were forced to play their most recent home game with Marseille in an empty stadium as a punishment for violent incidents in the stands during the goalless draw with Corsican neighbors Ajaccio in October.

Apparently having learned nothing, Bastia fans who watched the Wednesday evening match in on a big screen outside the Stade Armand-Cesari set off what the French FA (LFP) have described as "an impressive arsenal" of flares and fireworks, creating "a climate of insecurity" for spectators.

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With Joey Barton in town, Bastia's fans were safer outside the stadium on Wednesday (Getty)

With Joey Barton in town, Bastia's fans were safer outside the stadium on Wednesday (Getty)

For this latest bout of bad fan behaviour, I Turchini fans have been barred from attending home games until further notice by the LFP.

Understandably, the news has upset the Batisa faithful — none more so than Jo Bonavita, a 73-year-old club employee who is now staging his own Hungry Hungry Homer-style protest. The Guardian reports:

"Outraged by the decision, Jo Bonavita, responsible for the logistics at the club, has decided to start a hunger strike this morning in the light of the sanctions imposed by the LFP," the club said. The 73-year-old Bonavita is a much-loved figure at Bastia, where he has been working since 1981.

Bonavita is following in the footsteps of Verona's Emanuele Pesoli, who put on his finest jean shorts and chained himself to the gates of the Italian football federation (FIGC) in August, in a hungry protest over his three-year ban for "sporting fraud".

The Bastia hero, however, has said he is "ready to sacrifice" himself for his club, which suggests he may go a little further than the four days Pesoli managed before going home to change his denim pants.

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