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Jewish group in Italy denounces fascist salutes at Lazio soccer stadium

  • October 20, 2021

ROME, Italy — An Italian Jewish group called on Rome’s Lazio soccer team Wednesday to denounce fascist salutes appearing in a video taken at the team’s stadium.

A video circulating on social networks shows a man holding a live eagle — Lazio’s mascot — and wearing the blue and white colors of Lazio as he stands in front of the team’s supporters at the stadium, raising his arm in the fascist salute.

The video shows supporters returning the salute and shouting “Duce, Duce,” as Italy’s former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was called.

The Union of Jewish Communities in Italy (UCEI) said that Lazio and the Italian Football Federation should “intervene with the utmost urgency and effectiveness.”

“Faced with the ostentation of gestures and symbols that evoke fascist ideals, there can be no ambiguity and hesitation,” wrote Noemi Di Segni, the UCEI’s president, in a statement sent to AFP.

“The world of soccer must free itself from fascists and carriers of hatred, a hatred that from the soccer fields spreads to the squares,” she wrote.

The incident took place Saturday following Lazio’s 3-1 victory against Inter-Milan, La Gazzetta dello Sport said.

On its website, Lazio said the man in the video — whose job it was to act as the eagle’s perch — was employed by an outside company.

“Measures were taken against the company, aimed at the immediate suspension from work of the person concerned and the possible termination of existing contracts,” the club wrote Wednesday.

The Rome club has a history of association with the far-right and Lazio has been sanctioned in the past by the Federation.

In 2020, the club ordered 16 fans caught making fascist salutes at a Europa League home game to contribute to paying a 20,000 ($23,250) euro fine imposed by the Union of European Football Associations.

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