Lazio fans hit another low: Anti-Semitic Anne Frank stickers

“Using the image of Anne Frank as an insult against others is a very grave matter.”

Racist chants at every opportunity.

A Lazio banner in the intra-city derby nearly 20 years ago aimed at Roma supporters that read: “Auschwitz Is Your Homeland; The Ovens Are Your Homes.”

Another message honouring the slain Serbian paramilitary leader, Arkan.

Lazio fans have a long history of racism and anti-Semitism and the Roman club’s supporters established another low over the weekend. They littered the Stadio Olimpico with superimposed images of Anne Frank — the young diarist who died in the Holocaust — wearing a jersey of city rival Roma.

“The anti-Semitic squalor that prompted some Lazio fans to make fun of even Anne Frank’s memory is a shameful gesture,” said ex-Italian Premier Matteo Renzi. “Obviously we’re talking about a small minority but not shedding light on this news would be a mistake.

“Because when things like this happen it’s important that children know and learn how to deal with a complete lack of dignity,” Renzi added.

With a long stadium ban likely and police having opened a criminal inquiry, Lazio president Claudio Lotito sought Tuesday to disassociate the club from its hard-core “ultra” fans.

In a visit to Rome’s main synagogue, Lotito said the club would intensify its efforts to combat racism and anti-Semitism and organize an annual trip to the Auschwitz concentration camp with some 200 young Lazio fans to “educate them not to forget.”

The northern curva (end) of the stadium where Lazio’s “ultra” fans usually sit was closed on Sunday for the match with Cagliari, due to racist chanting during a match against Sassuolo earlier this month.

As a result, Lazio decided to open the southern end and let the ultras in where Roma’s hard-core fans sit for their home matches in the stadium both sides share.

“Unfortunately it’s something that affects a lot of clubs, a lot of fan groups and a lot of cities. But you can’t generalize,” Italian Players Association president Damiano Tommasi said in an interview with The Associated Press last week looking ahead to the Lazio-Cagliari match.

“You’ve got to educate as much as possible those who go to the stadium for these reasons,” Tommasi added. “And leave them out. Certainly the best solution isn’t letting them in to another area of the stadium.”

Lazio beat Cagliari 3-0 for its fourth straight win and is fourth in the standings, level on points with six-time defending champion Juventus. Stadium cleaners found the anti-Semitic stickers on Monday.

Antonio Tajani, the head of the European Parliament, denounced those responsible during a session in Brussels on Tuesday, saying that anti-Semitism has no place.

“Using the image of Anne Frank as an insult against others is a very grave matter,” Tajani said.

Tajani, who is Italian, said the EU must remain a place of religious tolerance.

Lazio’s ultra group, the “Irriducibili” (diehards), expressed surprise at the widespread outrage.

“There are other cases that we feel should lead the newscasts and fill newspaper pages,” the group said in a statement on Facebook.

The latest partial stadium ban stemmed from derogatory chants directed at visiting Sassuolo players Claud Adjapong and Alfred Duncan.

Adjapong was born in Italy to Ghanaian parents and has represented Italy Under-19s. Duncan is from Ghana.

Lazio will also be without fans in the northern end when Udinese visits on Nov. 5, as it was also decided to apply a sanction that had been conditionally suspended for racist chanting during the Rome derby in April.

Also this season, Lazio beat Belgian side Zulte Waregem 2-0 in a Europa League match behind closed doors due to punishment from UEFA for racist chants aimed at a Sparta Prague player in the Roman side’s last continental appearance two seasons ago.

The club promoted an anti-racism initiative for the Cagliari game, saying it was up to other fans to educate the offending supporters until their “ignorance and lack of respect for the most elementary rules of coexistence disappear once and for all” from soccer stadiums.

“There are no justifications. These incidents must be met with disapproval, without any ifs, ands or buts,” Sports Minister Luca Lotti said. “I’m sure that the responsible authorities will shed light on what happened and that those responsible will quickly be identified and punished.”

___

Associated Press writer Nicole Winfield contributed.

___

More AP Serie A coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/SerieA

___

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf

Andrew Dampf, The Associated Press

 

Just Posted

New owner ‘walking away’ from derelict Arrowview Hotel after one week

WorksafeBC issues stop work order; owner Stan Pottie says cost to continue too high

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to campaign in Port Alberni

Singh joins Courtenay-Alberni candidate for rally to kick off final weekend before election

BC Transit to offer free bus services in Port Alberni on Election Day

Alberni Valley residents will be able to ride the bus for free on Election Day

ARTS AROUND: Port Alberni artists show their love of nature

“Spirits of Earth, Wind and Water” is on now until Oct. 30

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

With $4M investment, Camosun College offers first sonography program on Vancouver Island

Starting in May 2020 students from Vancouver Island can pursue a career in sonography

Scooter rider suffers life-threatening injuries in crash in Nanaimo

One person airlifted to hospital in Victoria after collision on Wall Street on Thursday

Elizabeth May confirms plan to eliminate fish farming in open ocean pens

Green Party leader stops in Qualicum Beach as part of Island campaign

STRIKE: WFP and USW are back at the table for mediation

“No further updates until either an agreement is reached or one party or the other breaks off talks”

Pole-climbing thieves pilfering wire in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Repairs are costly and thefts jeopardize public safety

Green Party leader Elizabeth May rolls through Vancouver Island to boost a party stronghold

Mocks media, evokes Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and promises change

Most Read