A 2-1 Lazio victory yesterday left Lecce defender Samuel Umtiti emotionally upset. This happened when Lazio fans chanted racial abuse at Umtiti and teammate Lameck Banda.
Following a Ciro Immobile opener in the first half, the Puglian side fell behind to the Biancocelesti. But they made a comeback in the second half to win all three points.
However, Lecce’s evening wasn’t all positive, as Umtiti and Banda were victims of racist chants coming from Lazio supporters during the first half of the match, leading the stadium announcer to warn that further abuse would result in the match being suspended.
Following the chants, the 2018 World Cup winner Umtiti was visibly emotional. Despite the insulting chants continuing after the announcement, the Lecce fans loudly chanted the French defender’s name in support.
Lazio club’s official statement amidst the racist allegations on Umtiti
The club’s fans have a long history of discriminatory behavior and the club has been hit with numerous sanctions both in Serie A and Europe. Lazio issued a statement in the midst of these allegations:
“Lazio has always opposed all forms of racism and discrimination with all the means available, putting in place initiatives aimed at repressing these phenomena, making its fans aware of this issue and acting in the appropriate offices to protect its image.”
“Even today, Lazio condemns those who have become the protagonists of this despicable, shameful and anachronistic gesture and will, as always, offer the maximum collaboration to the authorities to identify those responsible. Lazio fans are not racist and cannot be associated with a few individuals who seriously harm the club’s image.”
During Sunday’s game against Empoli, Lazio’s “curva nord,” where hard-core “ultra” fans sit, will be closed. The capital club will serve the ban on Sunday when they take on Empoli at home in Serie A.
The Italian league will surely take the necessary steps so that no other player has to face the same as Umtiti.
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