A Sunday of racism in Italian football13 April 2005

Sunday, 10 April

SS Lazio v AC Livorno
On the stands of the Olympic Stadium a different game was being played, a politically tinged game between football fans who emphasised their differences (as we know, some groups associate themselves with the extreme right and others with the extreme left) with banners, slogans and chants that sparked a polemic. “Pentito e partigiano con i laziali sei sempre scappato” [Remorseful partisan, you always ran away with the Lazio fans] read one of the first flags to appear in the North Stand. In response, some 200 Livorno supporters unfurled a red flag sporting a hammer and sickle and sang “Bandiera rossa” [Red Flag]. The Lazio fans then raised two further flags: “Boia chi molla” [To the hangman with those who retreat] and “Me ne frego” [I don't give a shit]. All this was topped off by a conspicuous “Rome is Fascist” slogan.

A host of swastika flags were waved in the North Stand. SS Lazio were fined for the glorification of Nazism; the chairman of the disciplinary tribunal that reached a decision on the game yesterday afternoon said that only extenuating circumstances – the preventive action taken by the club and the fact the majority of the fans had distanced themselves from such activities – had prevented a closure of the Olympic Stadium.

The Italian Football Association (FIGC) has announced the opening of two inquiries into a number of incidents involving Lazio's Paolo Di Canio und Livorno's Cristiano Lucarelli. In particular, the conduct of the Lazio striker at the end of the game is being looked into. Di Canio ran towards the North Stand and, after throwing away his shirt, acknowledged his fans with an outstretched arm, which reminded many people of his Roman salute after the local derby against AS Rome, an action for which the player has already been punished.
As far the Livorno player is concerned, the Disciplinary Committee of the Italian FA will consider the coach Lucarelli hired to take the fans from the Tuscany back home. There is, after all, a rule in place that forbids relations between players who are association members and supporters.

FARE sent a letter to SS Lazio president Claudio Lotito in February, a copy of which was sent to the Italian FA for information, highlighting the racist incidents during the match between Lazio and Sampdoria in January. The letter went unanswered.

Modena v Verona
Verona fans directed racist chants against Gyan Asamoah, a black Modena player.