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Lazio avoid stadium ban for anti-Semitic stickers

January 25, 2018

The Italian FA has fined Serie A and Rome club Lazio after their supporters were found to have distributed anti-Semitic material featuring Holocaust victim Anne Frank. However, they have avoided a stadium ban.

Italien Fußball Lazio Rom - Protest gegen Antisemitismus
Image: Getty Images/Iguana Press/M. Carlini

An Italian football association (FIGC) tribunal on Thursday fined €50,000 ($62,000) after their supporters were found to have been behind the distribution of anti-Semitic material featuring Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

Stickers depicting Frank as a fan of SS Lazio's local rivals AS Roma turned up inside the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, where both clubs play their home games, and some of Lazio's ultras were found to have been responsible.

Prosecutor Giuseppe Pecoraro had demanded that the court impose a stadium ban on Lazio, forcing them to play two matches behind closed doors. However, the tribunal rejected the measure, finding that this would have unfairly punished Lazio fans who weren't involved.

The tribunal recognized that Lazio had measures in place to prevent the display of discriminatory material at their matches and noted that the stickers were too small to be detected, but the FIGC said it held the club "objectively responsible" for the incident.

Of the 20 Lazio ultras who were found guilty of distributing the stickers, 13 have been banned from attending future sporting events. Authorities are now investigating whether to press charges for the distribution of insulting and anti-Semitic material.

Opinion: Anti-Semitic incidents in football are a warning sign to society

Copycat incidents in Germany

The incident caused outrage across Italy and Europe but also spurned copy-cat incidents in Germany. Stickers depicting Frank in a Schalke shirt were discovered in Düsseldorf and traced back to hooligans linked to Borussia Dortmund's fan scene.

Following the incidents, a minute's silence was held in stadiums across Italy while a passage from Frank's wartime diary was read out. Many Italian supporters responded by distributing their own stickers featuring the words: Siamo tutti Anna Frank – we are all Anne Frank.

mf/pfd (AP/SID)