BLOG ITALIA
Thursday November 7 2019
Ultras ruining Lazio's image

Lazio must realise ultras are damaging their international standing and really do something to clamp down on the Fascist elements, warns Emmet Gates.

The video went viral. If you are reading this article, chances are you’ve probably seen it. The video captured Lazio’s ultras, dressed in identikit clothing of denim jeans and black leather jackets, parading through Glasgow town centre giving the Roman salute.

Once the video hit the Internet it, not surprisingly, caused a huge backlash. The club were brandished as ‘Nazio’ (not exactly an original slur). Lazio released a statement condemning the behavior of these fans, and for ‘bringing Hitler into our club’.

Again, this is all hardly new terrain for Lazio, who are arguably the most politicised club in Serie A. Their connection to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, whilst perhaps tenuous at best, has given them the label as ‘Mussolini’s club’, a stain on the club’s image that has never truly washed off.

The fetishisation of Mussolini by Lazio’s ultras has only added more fuel to the fascist fire. Scenes such as the one experienced by Glasgow shoppers are a regular occurrence in the peninsula. They even paid a visit to the square where the World War II leader was killed and held up a banner that read: ‘Honour to Benito Mussolini.’

Lazio complain about the unfair PR treatment they receive, running with the ‘few bad apples ruin the whole cart’ excuse. Yet what is the club doing to eradicate the problem? The answer is slightly less than zero.

President Claudio Lotito did, in begrudging fairness, initially take on the ultras upon becoming owner of the club in the mid ‘00s. They had enjoyed a free ride in the Sergio Cragnotti era – free tickets to every game, free to produce Lazio merchandise, and, incredibly, have a say in player movement (they talked Cragnotti out of selling Beppe Signori to Parma in 1996). Lotito put a stop to the gravy train.

But that was then. In recent years the club has desperately failed to tackle their image problem, a lack of willingness to once again butt heads with the ultras. The Irriducibili, Lazio’s biggest ultras group, are extremely politicised, and as the parade in Glasgow revealed, they aren’t shy in showing their feelings. Before a recent Rome derby, they printed stickers of Holocaust victim Anne Frank in a Roma jersey and left them around the Stadio Olimpico. This, deservedly, drew international condemnation.

So what can the club do? The easy answer would be to be ban the ultras, all of them. But the ultras are a double-edged sword, they create the atmosphere inside the stadium that otherwise wouldn’t exist if they were absent. Do you sacrifice the so-called ‘12th man’ for a cleaner image? Do you make a deal with other, smaller ultra groups, with the caveat being that politics will no longer be tolerated inside the Olimpico?

Juventus are currently in the middle of a battle with their ultras; with the club taking measures to ban any fans caught making offensive comments or gestures inside the stadium through the use of technology. However, that double-edged sword is evident when the ultras go on strike. You can audibly hear players shouting at one another during the game, the atmosphere turns mute.

There is no easy fix to the ultras problem, and until Lazio make attempts to quash, or at the very least sanitise their own hard-line fans, you suspect there will be more harm done to the club’s international image.

At least Lazio can safely say they are not the worst at dealing with ultra-right-wing elements in their fanbase, in a week where the coach, President and even Mayor of Verona tried to gaslight Mario Balotelli by telling him there was no racist chanting, even when presented with video evidence. Dealing with racism better than Hellas Verona is, one has to admit, a very low bar.

Have your say...
These types of blogs only seem to come out when Lazio are challenging for top four places. Yes there are a number of backward, small minded racists but they do 2hat they do for attention, and my goodness do you guys give it.
on the 10th November, 2019 at 10:22pm
Ultras are scum. They deserve a fate similar to their beloved Benito. You ruin this great game and used it as an excuse for your violence/bigotry/racism. You're all spineless cowards.
on the 9th November, 2019 at 12:00am
@Anon Attack and vilify when someone's opinions don't match your own. It's like a broken record....
You don't know me nor anything about me yet call me spineless, LOSER
It's clear for all to see where the hate originates
on the 8th November, 2019 at 10:28pm
@Forza Azzurre - here we go, a spineless Nazi wants to call other people Nazi because he got called out. You support a club that worships Hitler and Mussolini! Why don't you go visit a concentration camp and tell me that Fascism is just an ideology that creates no harm? Your club put Anne Frank's picture on the Roma jersey as an "insult", a girl who was forced to hide in an attic just because she's jew. Ever visited her house in Amsterdam? You got any idea how tiny the space is? LOSER!
on the 8th November, 2019 at 8:36pm
To the people going to great lengths to defend the Lazio ultras I think you should have a long, hard look at the situation before you make any further comments. A political ideology is one thing, whether I like it or not is irrelevant. The extreme behaviour, bigotry and ignorance that comes with it is another thing entirely. The club and the ultras make no genuine attempt to disassociate themselves with the negative image portrayed in the media, that is why it continues. It needs to change.
on the 8th November, 2019 at 6:57pm
Pino: Well put. Either agree with their view point or you're branded a racist, fascist, nazi etc. Yet the left behaves as the true fascist, censuring and smothering any opinion that is not in line with theirs. The good thing is people are finally noticing and the world is waking up.

As for the actions of the Lazio Ultras in Glasgow, I've seen Scottish and Irish fans running amok in Rome, destroying hotels and streets. Surely a salute can't be all that bad?
on the 8th November, 2019 at 6:56pm
Ultras have too much power & negative influence on club football in Italy,FACT! Racism exists in societies throughout Europe, not just Italy; it isn't just about what skin colour you wear. In an optimistic sense you might believe one day racism will be defeated but What must happen now in Serie A is it must be contained, restricted & dealt with. Fans must be seated, allocated seat numbers, CCTV must be used & racist & hooligan behaviours must be stopped by the clubs & police. Ban the scum!
on the 8th November, 2019 at 1:40pm
So far the Milan Ultras have been the best........ Forza Milan
on the 8th November, 2019 at 9:48am
@Anonymous - Roma ultras are more right wing than Lazio since the 90s? Which planet you live on? When was the last time Romanista wear black shirts and do Nazi salute? Especially when they are overseas? Yes, we do have a few idiots stabbing other club's fans, but that's not "political", which is what this article is about. Or maybe you are too thick to understand that?
on the 8th November, 2019 at 8:57am
The sad thing is this revolting behaviour tarnishes the long history of the ultras movement. Starting in S. America during the early 20thC and coming to Europe not too long after, ultras have been an expression of the voiceless masses for decades. But the author is correct, it's a double-edged sword. Through recent history, many ultras groups have been involved in protesting oppressive regimes and organizing the community, just as many have also provided a platform for hate and violence.
on the 8th November, 2019 at 2:29am
@Pino
Not you again. Sigh...
This time exposing yourself an a fascist sympathizer.
Go post this garbage somewhere else. Nobody wants to suffer your foolishness here.

I'm glad FI are posting these articles. Let all the crazies reveal themselves.
on the 8th November, 2019 at 2:23am
Ultras are like most things linked to Italian football - old, outdated, past it, dangerous, and idiotic.

The whole league needs to be gutted
on the 8th November, 2019 at 2:02am
Fascist FC - shaming Serie A for years, both on and off the field.
on the 8th November, 2019 at 12:22am
Ultras degrade the image of every club. Who would have thought blind devotion to a cause at any cost leads to poor decisions. What else is new.
on the 8th November, 2019 at 12:16am
Lazio fans still thinks its 1939, can someone wake them up please
on the 7th November, 2019 at 8:15pm
The moment that Lazio jumps into top 4 in the standings, you come with this article... I see, I see!
on the 7th November, 2019 at 5:10pm
Where is the condemnation for communist clubs and left wingers?

Say what you want about Mussolini and Fascism (which, like it or not IS different and distinct from Nazism) but communism has killed far more people and brought far more misery world-wide than fascism ever did or ever will.

How come we're focused on right wing stuff and not all the pro-commie garbage we see everywhere in Italy and the West in general?
on the 7th November, 2019 at 4:16pm
Lazio would be a well respected club across Europe if they could sort this issue out. As much as the club try to distance themselves from it, they're afraid to do anything about it. If you're neutral in times like this, you have chosen the side of the ignorant.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 2:39pm
roma ultras have been more right wing than Lazio since the 90s, and their ties with Mussolini are much less tenuous than those between Lazio and Duce. But they are Lazio's rivals so they must be left wing liberals, ok?
on the 7th November, 2019 at 12:03pm
It's not just Lazio, even though they might be the most rotten and corrupted of the lot.

Take every other club in Italy - Verona, Cagliari, Inter... the list is endless.

This is a mentality problem, not a decision problem. If the country's highest powered people are themselves backwards-ass apes and neanderthals to begin with, and horrible, casual racism is not only not not nipped in the bud but actually passed off as "part of growing up/toughening up" then you know why Italy's a mess...
on the 7th November, 2019 at 11:37am
Didn't read the article, didn't need to, the title is more than clear, Ultras in general, are ruining their clubs' images, pretty much all of them.I don't care about the tifos they do if they will spend the whole match insulting others, being racists and uncivilized in their conduct.All the curvas are a hindrance to their clubs, a shameful uneducated part that I wish one day, will see stadiums without them, for good.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 11:25am
Stop with the "right-wing" rubbish. Mussolini, like Hitler, traveled through many ideologies before reaching his end in bad behavior. "Fascism is not an ideology, it's a behavior." (Oriana Fallaci) It's a behavior used by people of all ideologies to silence others. Look in the mirror.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 11:08am
Trigoria Ground, racism is a problem in Italy in general! Your comment is useless, especially coming from a Roma fan! Your fans are the worst when it comes to how they treat their own players! Btw Lotito said that they will ban people for life, let's see if he keeps his word.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 9:36am
It’s Lazio what do you expect?
on the 7th November, 2019 at 2:29am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.