Lazio fined $190K for fans’ racist abuse

Lazio has avoided being ordered by UEFA to play a Europa League

match in an empty stadium despite a third conviction for racist

abuse by fans this season.

UEFA said on Wednesday it fined Lazio ?140,000 ($190,000) and

deferred a stadium closure ”for a probationary period of two

years.”

Lazio was found guilty of racist behavior among a range of

offenses relating to its home match against Tottenham in Rome on

Nov. 22 and a game in Slovenia against Maribor on Dec. 6.

In addition to chants, Lazio fans displayed a ”Free Palestine”

banner at the Olympic Stadium, taunting Tottenham which

traditionally draws fans from London’s Jewish community.

UEFA previously fined the Italian club ?40,000 (then $52,300)

for its fans’ racist behavior when it first played Tottenham, in

London in September.

Lazio has earned ?2.6 million ($3.53 million) in UEFA bonuses

and prize money by winning its Europa League group. It can get

further payments from UEFA for advancing through knockout rounds,

and the club will also collect a share of Italian broadcasting

revenues for the competition.

UEFA’s disciplinary panel ruling will stir further debate on the

severity of sanctions for incidents involving racism and

discrimination inside stadiums.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said clubs and national teams

should have points deducted as a deterrent.

Still, FIFA did not deduct World Cup qualifying points from

Bulgaria and Hungary this month when judging racist abuse cases.

Both teams will play their next home qualifier in an empty

stadium.

Lazio next plays at home in the Europa League on Feb. 21 against

Borussia Moenchengladbach, in the second leg of a last-32

meeting.

UEFA also fined Tottenham ?10,000 ($13,570) and Maribor ?17,000

($23,070) for crowd disturbances at the same matches.

The clubs can challenge all sanctions at UEFA’s appeals

panel.

UEFA acted on the second Lazio-Tottenham match after receiving

reports from the English Football Association and the European

fans’ network, FARE, which sends monitors to high-risk games.

The match, which ended 0-0, was played amid tension after

attacks on Tottenham fans in a bar in central Rome the previous

night.