Barcelona Camp Nou tifoGetty Images

What is a football tifo? Stadium displays & best fan examples


Football managers and players often make impassioned pleas to supporters to get behind their teams on occasions where it is felt that the notional power of the '12th man' is needed to get the job done.

While only those who are actually on the pitch have the power to directly affect the proceedings of a game, players certainly can feed off the energy of a crowd and visiting teams can even wilt under the pressure.

Stadiums are often described as "cauldrons" when fans turn up the volume and the heat by roaring their favourite players on to glory, as well as creating elaborate artistic displays.

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Goal takes a look at one of the most popular methods of showing support for a team - tifo culture.

Contents

  1. What is a tifo?
  2. What does tifo mean?
  3. Best tifo stadium displays


What is a tifo?

Tifo is the word used to describe a colourful, vibrant and usually choreographed visual display by football supporters. It is also a phenomenon in other sports, such as cycling and auto racing.

Displays of a tifo normally occur within stadiums before and during games but can also take place outside a ground.

In many cases the visual displays are carefully planned and often each individual supporter forms part of a mosaic by wearing or holding a particular colour.

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What does tifo mean?

The word tifo is Italian and it actually refers to the typhus fever, which can cause an outbreak of delirium in those who suffer it.

Supporters who form a tifo are known as tifosi, which is the Italian word for 'those infected with typhus'. Naturally, it is not to be taken literally.

The choice of word in Italian is deliberate as football supporters are often depicted as being in a delighted frenzy when their team scores a goal or wins.

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Best tifo stadium displays

As a phenomenon tifo displays are particularly common in Italy and the practice has spread across continental Europe.

Football fans in North America have also embraced tifo culture and they are a common sight at Major League Soccer matches.

Below are some examples of the best tifo displays in football.

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AC Milan - San Siro

AC Milan San Siro tifo

AC Milan have one of the most vibrant fan cultures in Serie A and they usually decorate San Siro in their striking rossoneri colours for games.

Their tifo displays commonly include reference to Il Diavolo (the Devil) who is something of a mascot for the club.

Barcelona - Camp Nou

Barcelona Camp Nou tifoGetty

Barcelona supporters regularly turn Camp Nou into a canvas, but particularly before big games, such as those Clasico showdowns or Champions League fixtures.

Political slogans have begun to appear more frequently in recent years as the Catalan fanbase voices its support of the Catalan independence movement.

Celtic - Celtic Park

Celtic Celtic Park tifoGetty Images

Scottish football may not be scaling the heights it has in the past, but that has done little to dim the passions of its loyal followers and Celtic supporters regularly display their personalities through tifos.

Their Celtic Park displays have occasionally landed them in hot water with UEFA due to the overtly political slogans which have appeared, but that did not prevent them from being crowned 'best fans in the world' by FIFA in 2017.

Borussia Dortmund - Signal Iduna Park (Westfalenstadion)

Borussia Dortmund Signal Iduna Park Westfalenstadion tifoGetty Images

The Yellow Wall in Borussia Dortmund's Westfalenstadion has become a gallery of a wide variety of supporters' tifos over the years.

Fans of the Bundesliga giants pride themselves on coming up with creative and memorable mosaics which tell a story or send a message.

Liverpool - Anfield

Anfield Liverpool tifo general viewGetty Images

The Kop at Anfield is one of the most famous stands in any football ground in football and Liverpool fans use it to brighten up games at Merseyside.

Reds fans have created tifos over the years to celebrate their vast array of achievements and also to pay tribute to those who tragically lost their lives in the Hillsborough Disaster.

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