Skip to main content

Lazio charged with racist fan behavior

January 7, 2013 -- Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)
Lazio fans show their support during a Serie A match against city rivals AS Roma in November 2012.
Lazio fans show their support during a Serie A match against city rivals AS Roma in November 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lazio charged by UEFA over "alleged racist behavior" of fans during Europa League clash
  • Tottenham also charged over "crowd disturbances" during November's Group J tie
  • The charges continue a week where racism in Italian football has come under intense scrutiny
  • FIFA president criticizes AC Milan's decision to walk off after player was racially abused

(CNN) -- Italian club Lazio has been charged over the "alleged racist behavior" of its fans during November's Europa League clash with Tottenham.

Supporters of the Rome side mocked the English team's links with the Jewish community by chanting "Juden Tottenham, Juden Tottenham" ("Tottenham Jews" in German) in the 0-0 draw in the Italian capital.

Tottenham has a large contingent of Jewish supporters, while Lazio has long had fans with right wing sympathies.

"Proceedings will also be instigated against S.S. Lazio for throwing of missiles and/or fireworks by their supporters, incidents of a non-sporting nature, late team arrival at the stadium, and late handling of the team sheet," European football's governing body UEFA said on Monday.

It added that Tottenham also faces charges related to crowd disturbances at the Group J game, which took place 24 hours after a knife attack on its fans in Rome.

Speaking out against racism in football
Boateng: We can't ignore racism
PFA chairman: Serbia should be banned

It is not the first time this season that Lazio supporters have been accused of racism, with the club fined €40,000 (US$52,000) for abuse directed at Tottenham's black players during the clubs' previous meeting in London in September.

The charges, which will be heard on January 24, continue a bad week for the standing of football in Italy, with the country's reputation having also been "damaged" in the eyes of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi after last week's racism walkoff involving AC Milan.

Former Ghana international Kevin-Prince Boateng made global headlines when he reacted to abusive chanting from a section of Pro Patria fans in a friendly against the fourth tier side by walking off the pitch -- and the entire Milan side followed him.

His actions earned widespread praise, including from Milan owner Berlusconi himself, but FIFA president Sepp Blatter is not among those who believe that Boateng's behavior was a step in the right direction.

"Walk off? That's not the solution," Blatter was reported to have said in Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National.

"I don't think you can run away, because eventually you can run away if you lose a match. This is a very touchy subject, but there is zero tolerance of racism in the stadium."

Despite his credibility on the topic having been damaged in the eyes of many pundits after he told CNN in 2011 that racism could be settled by a handshake, Blatter is now advocating tougher punishments to deal with the issue.

"The only solution is to be very harsh with the sanctions -- and the sanctions must be a deduction of points or something similar," he said on Sunday.

This is the first time that Blatter has publicly suggested a points deduction for clubs whose fans are racially abusive -- a stance which is backed by many figures within the game, including former Arsenal stars Patrick Vieira and Sol Campbell.

West Ham have already banned one fan for life after he was cautioned by police for "racially aggravated gesturing" during their match with Tottenham on Sunday. West Ham's fans are also reported to have aired songs about Adolf Hitler. The FA are to investigate. Tottenham won the game 3-1 with Gareth Bale (left) on the scoresheet.
West Ham have already banned one fan for life after he was cautioned by police for "racially aggravated gesturing" during their match with Tottenham on Sunday. West Ham's fans are also reported to have aired songs about Adolf Hitler. The FA are to investigate. Tottenham won the game 3-1 with Gareth Bale (left) on the scoresheet.
West Ham controversy
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
Hammers vow action on anti-Semitic chants Hammers vow action on anti-Semitic chants
Sorry Blatter refuses to quit
Sepp Blatter talks racism in football

Two days after Boateng walked off against Pro Patria, racism reared its ugly head again in Italy as some sections of Lazio's crowd were heard making monkey noises at Cagliari's black Colombian striker Victor Ibarbo.

Although many of the crowd inside the Stadio Olimpico for the Serie A league clash jeered and whistled to drown out the racists, the referee was forced to halt play as he spoke to both team captains and ordered a message to be relayed over the PA system to warn fans that continued chanting would result in the game's suspension.

Late last week, former Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf warned that walking off pitches in protest at abusive chanting threatened to "empower" the racist minority.

Should Lazio be found guilty of the charges, pressure will fall on UEFA to take tough sanctions after the body was widely criticized for issuing what was seen as a paltry $105,000 fine to the Serbian FA after an Under-21 match where opposing England players said they were racially abused.

The punishment fell short of the $125,800 fine UEFA handed to Denmark international Nicklas Bendtner for exposing boxer shorts adorned with the logo of an online betting company during the 2012 European Championships.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT