Lazio are at war with a group of their own fans over UEFA sanctions on the back of repeated racist actions at Europa League matches.
On Wednesday UEFA announced that part of the Curva Nord would be closed for next month’s game with Celtic with the Italian club fearing that the entire stadium could be closed down.
Before the UEFA hearing Lazio allocated Celtic 9,000 tickets with their own fans angry over the ‘massive advantage’ that the club had handed their Europa rivals.
Lazio have to find a balance between complying with UEFA and dealing with their own Ultra groups but club spokesman Arturo Diaconale clearly on the side of UEFA as he spoke to The Sun:
Unfortunately, the behaviour of very few fans – we believe it was around 20 – risks our progress in the Europa League. Because of this, we are forced to play Celtic in our own stadium without the support of the Curva Nord.
Furthermore, if this behaviour continues at our future matches in Europe, we are at serious risk of the entire stadium being closed. We only escaped a full ban this time because our president’s insistence on zero tolerance in the future.
We respect our supporters’ rights to have political opinions, but it makes no sense to express these in stadiums home or away, especially when it is known that UEFA are monitoring us. I appeal for it not to happen again in our future games because it damages Lazio.
The Stadio Olympico is rarely more than half full for Europa League matches with around 30,000 expected for the November 7 clash with the Scottish champions.
Next week Lazio visit Celtic Park with every ticket sold out within 24 hours of Celtic’s 2-0 win over Cluj.