Claudio Lotito, president of Italian club Lazio, has issued an apology for the racist abuse suffered by the Messina and Ivory Coast defender Marc Kpolo Zoro.
The Ivorian was subjected to racist abuse by a section of Lazio supporters throughout the Serie A game on Sunday 28 August 2005. The Messina defender was said to be furious at the end of the match, which Lazio won 1-0.
“I had to push him into the dressing room because he was very upset and could have reacted in a way that would have wound things up even more,” Zoro's team mate Salvatore Aronica said.
Lazio president Lotito entered the dressing room after the game to apologise to Zoro in the name of the club. Lazio have been sanctioned on several occasions by the Italian Football Federation and European governing body Uefa after racist chants or banners from their fans. On one such occasion, striker Paolo Di Canio was fined for making a fascist salute to the crowd during Lazio’s derby win over Roma in January 2004.