April 25 – Lazio have blamed “isolated elements” after around 50 supporters displayed a banner honouring Benito Mussolini and performed fascist salutes ahead of Wednesday’s Italian Cup match against AC Milan.
The banner was unveiled near Piazzale Loreto, the Milan square where the fascist dictator was executed in 1945.
The episode took place one day ahead of Liberation day, a public holiday in which Italians celebrate the end of Nazi-fascism.
The two teams met at San Siro for the second leg of their cup semi-final, with the atmosphere turning ugly prior to kick-off.
Lazio fans have a reputation for racist behaviour, notoriously in October 2017, when so-called fans posted stickers around Rome’s Olympic stadium depicting Holocaust victim Anne Frank wearing the strip of arch-rivals Roma along with anti-Semitic slogans.
Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister, issued a statement on Twitter condemning the latest incident. “No tolerance for any form of violence, whether physical or verbal,” he said.
And after the game, which Lazio won 1-0 to reach the final, the club also denounced the behaviour of some of its supporters but insisted they represented a small minority.
“SS Lazio clearly distances itself from behaviours and demonstrations that do not reflect in any way the values of sport as sustained and promoted by the club for 119 years,” said the statement.
“It rejects and disputes the simplistic tendency of some media to consider the entire Lazio supporter base jointly responsible for acts carried out by a few, for reasons that have nothing to do with sporting passion. The club has always fought for respect for the law and correct conduct.”
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