Lazio face Juventus tonight and President Claudio Lotito insists they are “not our enemies,” blasting fans who want defeat so as not to favour Roma.
It kicks off this evening at 19.45 GMT at the Stadio Olimpico, click here for a match preview.
The lead-up to the game has seen some Lazio supporters call up local radio stations urging the players to lose, as a Juventus defeat would favour rivals Roma in their Scudetto ambitions.
It isn’t the first time some Biancocelesti fans have acted this way, as they famously unveiled a banner that read “Oh nooooo......” after Inter took the lead against Lazio at the Olimpico in a game that helped prevent Roma reach the top of the table.
“What the fans do will not remain unpunished,” warned Lotito in Tuttosport.
“People must understand that football is to be enjoyed, not treated with hatred, bitterness or violence. You must go to the stadium to enjoy a wonderful day and at the end the winners and losers emerge in a positive atmosphere, regardless of the result. That’s what happens in English stadiums.
“Juventus also have a section of their fans who create problems. I have always said we need football to teach and set the moral tone. Once anything was allowed, now there is zero tolerance. It’s still not enough, as we must all understand that in football there are opponents, not enemies.”
Lazio go into tonight’s game trying to stop Juve earning a 13th consecutive Serie A victory, but are without the banned Senad Lulic, Eddy Onazi, Stefano Mauri and injured Stefan Radu and Ederson.
“We have a delicate situation in terms of absentees, but I hope the squad can give its all and prove its determination. In the past this side has already been able to do well despite difficulties, so I hope that will be the case again.”
Lotito clashed several times with Juventus President Andrea Agnelli on how Italian football should proceed, but he insisted it was not a problem.
“There were some counter-positions on the interpretation of a different political, institutional and footballing path. Good sense can help us to converge on certain issues. I also told Andrea there must not be winners and losers in the system, as if the system wins then we are all winners.
“As there are so many clubs in the Lega Serie A, we need a middle road that suits everyone’s needs. For a start, we must reduce the number of teams in the top flight, otherwise we maintain a system that creates debts for all concerned.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!