Lazio hit with partial stadium closure for Celtic match following racism charge

The Serie A club have been charged with racist behaviour.

By Press Association Published: 16 October 2019 - 9.45am

Celtic’s Europa League match against Lazio in Rome will be subject to a partial stadium closure after the Italian club were charged with racist behaviour by UEFA.

The charge followed alleged racist chanting from supporters during Lazio’s 2-1 Europa League victory over French club Rennes on October 3 at Stadio Olimpico.

Scottish champions Celtic host Lazio on October 24 and then head to the Italian capital for the return Group E match on November 7, when the partial closure will be enforced.

Lazio sanctions

  • Ordered to close sectors 46, 47, 48 and 49 of the stadium
  • Fined 20,000 euros
  • Ordered to play one UEFA competition home match behind closed doors (suspended for one year)

In a statement, UEFA announced that Lazio will be required to display a banner containing the wording ‘#EqualGame’ and the UEFA logo in the closed section of the stadium.

Lazio have been fined 20,000 euros (£17,300).

UEFA has also ordered the Italian club to play one additional UEFA competition match behind closed doors, with that sanction suspended for one year.

Lazio branded the punishment excessive, saying they had a zero tolerance of “hateful racist acts” and insisting the issue related to a small minority of supporters.

The club emphasised their intention to prosecute offenders, but also reserved the right to appeal against the sanctions in order to prevent innocent fans being penalised.

The racist chants came during Lazio's Europa League win over Rennes
The racist chants came during Lazio’s Europa League win over Rennes (Alessandra Tarantino/AP).

They said in a statement that UEFA’s ruling imposed “a heavy penalty that seems not to have taken into account the clear condemnation expressed promptly by Lazio against the hateful racist acts performed by a few irresponsible people”.

The club added: “The sentence at the same time confirms Lazio’s firm will to continue the policy of zero tolerance established by the president Claudio Lotito.

“The club also reaffirm their intention to prosecute criminally and civilly those responsible for unacceptable conduct that causes not only serious damage to the image and heritage of Lazio, but heavily penalises the overwhelming majority of a fan base that has always been completely separate from a small minority of racists.

“Lazio, however, reserve the right to appeal against the UEFA decision to reduce the penalties that largely hit the most responsible supporters.”