Lazio penalized after fans shouts monkey chants at Romelu Lukaku during Italian Cup against Roma

Lazio Faces Sanctions After Racial Abuse Directed at Romelu Lukaku

Lazio, the Italian football club, has been met with penalties, including a one-match stand closure, following incidents of racial abuse directed at Romelu Lukaku by their supporters during a recent Italian Cup victory over Roma.

Serie A confirmed this disciplinary action on Friday.

Section Closure and Details of Abuse:

As a consequence, three sections of the Stadio Olimpico, known for hosting Lazio’s hardcore fans, will be closed during the upcoming league fixture against Napoli on January 28.

The punishment is a result of “boorish, insulting, and racially discriminatory monkey chanting” aimed at Roma forward Lukaku.

The abuse occurred from the Curva Nord and two adjacent sections whenever Lukaku had possession of the football.

Witness Accounts and Fan Demographics:

The league’s statement highlighted that four Italian Football Federation observers distinctly heard the racist chants, originating from 90 percent of the 16,000 fans in those areas of the ground.

Lazio’s fanbase is known for its significant number of right-leaning supporters, reflecting a broader trend in Italy where far-right affiliations are prevalent.

History of Incidents:

This recent episode is part of a series of incidents involving Lazio.

In April of the previous year, the club faced a one-match stadium closure due to anti-Semitic and racist chants during a derby clash with Roma.

A similar occurrence took place in January of that year when Lazio’s fans emotionally impacted France international Samuel Umtiti during a match against Lecce.

Targeting Romelu Lukaku:

Romelu Lukaku has been a frequent target of racial abuse in Italy, having experienced similar incidents with Juventus fans last season and Cagliari supporters in 2019 while playing for Inter Milan.

Notably, the incident at Cagliari went unpunished, and Inter’s hardcore fans even penned an open letter asserting that monkey chants should not be deemed racist.

Financial Consequences and Chaos:

In addition to the stand closure, Lazio faced a 50,000 euros fine for their supporters breaching security, while Roma’s fans incurred a 15,000 euro fine for retaliating.

The Rome derby, known for its intensity, saw skirmishes and police charges before the match.

Post-game chaos included Lazio fans raiding a pub popular among Roma supporters, resulting in two individuals being stabbed.

Conclusion:

Lazio’s recent disciplinary action sheds light on the persisting issue of racial abuse in Italian football, emphasizing the need for continued efforts to address such behavior.

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