NEWS
Tuesday October 8 2013
Lotito: 'Fans blackmail clubs'

Lazio and Catania Presidents feel they are “held hostage by fans,” but the Mayor of Naples insists anti-Neapolitan chants must be punished as ‘racism.’

The debate is raging after Milan were ordered to play their next home game against Udinese behind closed doors due to “discriminatory” chants against Neapolitans.

The anti-racism laws have been expanded to cover “territorial discrimination,” in other words insults aimed at other cities within Italy.

“I agree completely with Adriano Galliani, the clubs cannot be held responsible for a few people,” Catania President Antonino Pulvirenti told Adnkronos.

“I hope there can be a revision of the rules along with UEFA. We need to loosen the grip of these rules, because it is incomprehensible that the clubs should pay when they are entirely blameless.”

Lazio President Claudio Lotito is familiar with playing games behind closed doors, as the ultras often fell foul of anti-racism rules in Serie A and Europe.

“We cannot put a microphone on every single fan,” Lotito told Radio 24. “With these rules, the clubs are held hostage by fans.

“Michel Platini is not Gospel and the FIGC is one of the most important federations. If a sector of the fans behave a certain way, they should be punished, but not the entire stadium. A few delinquents given this much power allow them to blackmail the clubs.”

Despite all the controversy over this decision to punish Milan for anti-Neapolitan chants, the Mayor of Naples insists the expansion of anti-racism rules to include territorial rivalries is fair.

“There is no such thing as a first class and second class discrimination,” said Mayor Luigi De Magistris.

“The Neapolitans have often been discriminated against in unacceptable fashion. People should get used to being respectful to their opponents, their hosts and their countrymen.

“In the stadiums we need to set a positive example, as these games are seen all over the world.”

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