Roma president pledges donation to repair fountain after celebration

Roma came back from a 4-1 first-leg deficit to defeat Barcelona on away goals as they advance to the Champions League semifinals.
Roma came back from a 4-1 first-leg deficit to defeat Barcelona on away goals as they advance to the Champions League semifinals.
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Roma president James Pallotta has pledged €230,000 to repair a fountain in front of the Pantheon in Rome after being fined for diving into another following his club’s win over Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Surrounded by a crowd of flag-waving Roma fans, Pallotta fell backward into a fountain in the Piazza del Popolo.

He received a statutory fine of €450 for wading into the historic fountain the morning after, but he was only too happy to pay up after his side’s historic Champions League semifinal qualification — and he even went further than just settling the fine.

“We spoke and he apologised,” Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi said. “He did it in a moment of excitement but he realises the importance of the example he needs to provide. And clearly he’ll pay the fine.”

Pallotta spoke with Raggi on Wednesday at a previously scheduled meeting to discuss progress in the club’s bid to build a new stadium inspired by the Colosseum, and the pair met the media after with Pallotta announcing his charitable donation.

“I want to thank the mayor for my well-deserved fountain fine of €450,” he said. “I certainly got caught up in the excitement. I think it was a great night for all of us in Rome, but I also don’t want to encourage other people to jump into fountains — except if they want to fix the fountain!

“So I’ve decided that I think it would be a great personal gesture to fix the fountain in front of the Pantheon and so I’m going to donate €230,000 to it. I try not to encourage people — I love this city, and if somebody does want to jump in it, fix the fountain.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.