Lazio protest partial stadium ban for fans' racist behaviour
Lazio have been ordered to close four sections of their stadium for their next Europa League home game due to racist behaviour by the Italian club's fans during a group stage match against Stade Rennais earlier this month.
European soccer's governing body UEFA said in a statement that Lazio must also display a banner carrying the words "#EqualGame" with the UEFA logo on it for the match against Celtic on Nov. 7.
The club were also fined €20,000 and given a suspended sentence of having to play one more match behind closed doors, contingent on there being no further racist incidents during a probationary period of one year.
However, Lazio released a statement proclaiming the sanctions to be "deeply damaging" and hinted that an appeal may be in the works.
“The decision of the Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body of UEFA in reference to the behaviour of some fans during the game between SS Lazio and Stade Rennais FC constitutes a deeply damaging penalisation that seems not to have taken into account the clear condemnation from the Biancocelesti club against the odious racist behaviour of a few irresponsible people.
“The sentence also confirms SS Lazio’s firm intention to continue the ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy set by President Claudio Lotito.
“The club, also, reaffirms its intention to pursue in penal and civil courts those responsible for unacceptable behaviour that not only gravely damages Lazio’s image, but also heavily penalise the vast majority of fans who have always been extraneous to and contrary to the racist behaviour of a tiny minority.
“SS Lazio reserve the right to present an appeal against the UEFA decisions to reduce the penalisation that for the most part hits the vast majority of those virtuous and responsible supporters.”