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Lotito: Zero tolerance on racism

Lazio President Claudio Lotito announced a “zero tolerance” policy against racism in the stands. “We’re tired of our image being dragged through the mud.”

The club has long struggled with a hard-right faction in its fanbase and this week UEFA announced it was opening an investigation into racist chants and Fascist gestures during the Europa League win over Rennes.

“Enough is enough, we are into a zero tolerance policy from now on,” said President Lotito.

“We are tired of Lazio constantly being associated with racist incidents when this has always, from its inception, been a club that distinguished itself for ethical behaviour.

“We are tired of the image of this club being dragged through the mud because of a few individuals, when the vast majority of fans are made to pay for their behaviour.

“We will collaborate with the police to identify those responsible for these gestures that forced UEFA to open an investigation into us after Lazio-Rennes. When they are identified, we’ll throw them out of the stadium for violating our code of ethics, then take part in any court case against them.

“It’s a small group of people, but that doesn’t make it a less serious problem. If anything, it’s worse because a few idiots damage the entire club and its fanbase.

“It is not possible that because of a few people, the others could be barred from entering the stadium to watch a game. This is absurd and we will fight it to the end. After 15 years, I am tired of still having to deal with these situations.”

The rules in Italy changed this month, meaning clubs are no longer automatically held responsible for the actions of individual fans, if they work with the authorities to identify and punish the supporters who take part in racist acts or throw objects on to the pitch.

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