Rome

Jewish group wants Lazio expelled from European football

Expensive anti-racism campaigns have not paid off, says lauder

Jewish group wants Lazio expelled from European football

(see related stories) Rome, November 23 - The World Jewish Congress on Friday called for Italian team Lazio to be expelled from European football if anti-Semitic and racist incidents during their football matches continue. The call came after Lazio hard-core supporters directed an anti-Semitic chant at Tottenham Hotspur supporters and displayed a pro-Palestinian banner during a Europa League match between the Roman and London clubs at Rome's Olympic Stadium on Thursday. The night before the match a group of masked youths attacked a group of Spurs fans while they were drinking in a central Rome pub, causing serious injury to one. Anti-Semitism is thought to be a possible motive for that attack. Tottenham Hotspur traditionally has a strong following from north London's Jewish community. Lazio supporters were initially thought to be to blame although two people arrested in connection with the attack are fans of rival Roman team AS Roma. ''It seems that all those expensive campaigns against racism that were run in recent years by UEFA, FIFA and others have not made a lasting impression, at least not on serial offenders such as certain supporters of Lazio,'' said Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress. ''The only way to overcome this ugly phenomenon is to threaten tough consequences for clubs who don't take their obligation seriously to keep hatemongers and racist thugs out of stadiums,'' he continued. ''This problem of racist Lazio supporters is not new, and it ought to be taken more seriously by all people concerned. Imposing fines on the clubs whose fans misbehave in such a way is obviously completely ineffective".

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