Last week UEFA's control and disciplinary committee has rejected an appeal by Lazio against punishments for racist behaviour by their fans. UEFA maintained Lazio must play their next European tie behind closed doors for racist abuse of its supporters against FK Partizan Belgrade at the Stadio Olimpico in November. And it also imposed an additional fine of 32,300 Euros (£22,327). It is the third time that Lazio have been penalised for race-related offences. Lazio's Uefa Cup campaign is over, meaning the ban will carry over until they next qualify for Europe.
FARE representatives attending the Serie A match between S.S. Lazio and Sampdoria (1:2) at Stadio Olimpico on 23 January could sample first hand experience about the scale of the racism problem. While inside the stadium racist chants were directed at Ghana’s Mark Edusei of Sampdoria, outside the stadium fascist memorabilia was on sale featuring the fascist salute made by Lazio captain Paolo Di Canio at the Roma derby two weeks earlier.
One FARE activist reported: “On my way to the stadium I was shocked to see that vendors outside the Stadio Olimpico selling t-shirts depicting Paulo Di Canio giving a fascist
salute. I was also astonished to see racist symbols such as the swastika and the Celtic cross marked on the stadium”.
“Inside the stadium during the second half of the game black Sampdoria player, Mark Edusei, was repeatedly the target of 'monkey chants' whenever he touched the ball. This happened on at least four separate occasions and was clearly audible to me even though I was sat in the Curva Sud and the vast majority of the chanting was coming from the Curva Nord”.
The racist graffiti, sale of t-shirts depicting a fascist salute and monkey chanting are all clear infringements on the UEFA 10 point plan against racism.