Lazio hit by terrace closure for Serie A opener
August 19, 2013 -- Updated 1644 GMT (0044 HKT)
Lazio will stage their first match of the new Serie A season without a section of their fans
- Italian club Lazio forced to shut a section of their ground for opening Serie A match
- The terrace closure is punishment after Lazio fans were guilty of racist abuse
- Fans in the Curva Nord shouted abuse at black Juventus players during Supercup final
- Juventus player Paul Pogba says abuse "shows a lack of respect"
(CNN) -- Italian football club Lazio must play their opening home game of the season with a section of their fans banned from the match as punishment for racial abuse.
Organisers of Italy's top-flight championship Serie A said in a statement that it had found Lazio fans guilty of "shouts and chants expressive of racial discrimination against three players of the opposing team" during the Italian Supercup final Sunday.
The match, which was won 4-0 by defending Serie A champions Juventus, was held at Lazio's Olympic Stadium in Rome.
League chiefs said Lazio supporters in the Curva Nord stand twice directed sustained abuse at the players involved in the traditional Serie A curtain raiser.
As punishment, that section of the ground will now be closed for Lazio's match against Udinese on 25 August.
France midfielder Paul Pogba was one of the Juventus players targeted by abuse by some of Lazio's more hardcore supporters.
He told the French news agency AFP: "What can I do? I'm alone against 30,000 fans. They do that even though there are blacks in their team.
"It's also a lack of respect towards their own players.
"It's really not nice to come to a football match and hear those sort of things but I'm a player, I concentrate on my job."
Italian football has been plagued by racist discrimination, with the sport's authorities struggling to eradicate the problem despite repeated efforts.
In June the Italian Football Federation brought in new rules allowing referees to stop matches and warn fans about their behavior, while players and clubs could potentially face tougher sanctions.
Last season Lazio fans were found guilty of racist behaviour by Uefa four times.
Following Sunday's Supercup final, Juventus and Lazio were also both fined by 5,000 euros after fans lit flares in the stands.
Part of complete coverage on
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
The dreams of 32 footballing nations can begin at Friday's 2014 World Cup draw. It will be more complicated than most -- so click here for the lowdown.
CNN's Alex Thomas takes a brave punt on the 2014 champion ahead of Friday's World Cup draw.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1835 GMT (0235 HKT)
Pele has backed Brazil to deliver a "fantastic" World Cup amid growing fears the country will not be ready in time to host football's showpiece event.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
Adidas unveils official match ball, the Brazuca, and CEO Herbert Hainer discusses the tech behind it.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 2209 GMT (0609 HKT)
Zahir Belounis contemplated suicide as he was stuck in Qatar for two years. But the footballer says it still deserves to host the 2022 World Cup.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
As he celebrates his 40th birthday, just what is the secret to Ryan Giggs' longevity?
Two Belgian "brain coaches" are helping transform AC Milan from big-spender to developer of young talent, says CNN's John Sinnott.
October 22, 2013 -- Updated 1457 GMT (2257 HKT)
Shootings, attempted assassinations and intimidation - welcome to Libyan football in 2013.
October 18, 2013 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
Zahir Belounis' limbo existence is almost at an end. After a two-year nightmare, he has been told he will finally receive his Qatari exit visa.
October 10, 2013 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
France's multicultural stars shone brightest at the World Cup 15 years ago -- now could it be Belgium's turn to do the same in Brazil next year?
Adnan Januzaj and Diego Costa have highlighted a major dilemma for international football, says CNN's John Sinnott.
CNN's Alex Thomas reports from FIFA HQ after the ruling body delayed its decision on the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
FIFA's credibility rides on finding a solution to the Qatar World Cup controversy, says CNN's Ben Wyatt.
October 2, 2013 -- Updated 1534 GMT (2334 HKT)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have cost Paris Saint-Germain $30 million, but you can get your own chunk of the Swedish striker for just $41.
Today's five most popular stories