Italian soccer side, Lazio, have been ordered to close a section of their home stadium, after their fans chanted racist songs during a match over the weekend.
Lazio were playing Juventus in the Supercoppa final when a number of Juventus’ players, which included Paul Pogba, Angelo Ogbonna, and Kwadwo Asamoah, were targeted by the racist fans during the encounter.
Serie A officials have been told to close the north stand of the Olympic Stadium for their match against Udinese on Sunday.
Pogba responded to the abuse, stating, “We heard it, they’re ignorant. What can I do? I’m alone against 30,000 fans. They do that even though there are black players in their team.”
He then added, “It’s also a lack of respect towards their own players. It’s really not nice to come to a football match and hear those sorts of things, but I’m a player, I concentrate on my job.”
A statement on Serie A’s official website confirmed, “[Lazio] are obliged to play one game with the “Curva Nord” closed to spectators. Fans from the nominated stand directed racially discriminatory chants to three opposition players between the 16th and 28th minutes of the first half and the 20th to 42rd minutes of the second half.”
There have been a number of racist issues in the Italian game over the past months. A referee had to stop play in AC Milan’s game with Roma because of racist chanting, while Inter Milan were fined twice within the space of one month because of the supporters’ vile chants.
The Italian Football Federation on June 4 launched a new anti-racism legislation that imposed heavy sanctions to clubs who were found guilty of racist abuse.
This also allows referees to stop matches and warn fans about their behavior, while there is also huge fines and long suspensions too.
[Image via Eyalos/Shutterstock]