Lazio handed two-match partial stadium ban after racist chants in Napoli match

04 February 2016 05:53

Lazio will serve a two-match partial stadium ban after Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly was subjected to racist chants by a section of home fans at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night.

The referee's report confirms the Senegalese was the target of abuse during the second half of a 2-0 Napoli victory, with match official Massimiliano Irrati deciding to halt play until the chanting abated.

Lega Serie A's disciplinary tribunal has now sanctioned Lazio by closing the Olimpico's north stand, where the club's hardcore supporters gather, for their next home league game against Hellas Verona.

The league has also activated a suspended partial ban issued last February after racist chanting in a match against Genoa, meaning the Curva Nord will remain closed for the visit of Sassuolo.

A statement published on legaseriea.it said Lazio had to pay a 50,000 euro (£38,000) fine.

Koulibaly, whose every touch was met by boos from a cluster of Lazio fans, thanked Tuscan referee Irrati for his support with an Instagram post.

The 24-year-old wrote: "A great win! I must thank everybody for their messages of solidarity.

"I also want to thank the Lazio fans but most of all, for his courage, referee Irrati. Thanks also to my team-mates, the club and our fans who have been a great support in the face of those ugly chants."

Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri bemoaned the supporters' behaviour following full-time in Rome.

He told sscnapoli.it: "I spoke with the fourth official because the situation was becoming embarrassing and I saw Koulibaly was getting really annoyed and wound up by the chants.

"So I think the referee took the right decision and I must congratulate him because he's sent a good message."

Sarri's opposite number Stefano Pioli, while condemning the abuse, did not think the stoppage was necessary or productive.

He told RAI Sport: "Abusive chants should not happen. People need to show respect and be polite.

"But I am not sure I would have stopped play - I don't think that's helpful.

"The chanting is unjustified but by stopping play you give a sense of importance to a tiny minority of troublemakers. It certainly wasn't from the whole stadium."

Top-flight officials have been granted the power to halt or even abandon games in the face of discriminatory behaviour from fans following a series of racist incidents.

Mario Balotelli, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Kevin Constant are other players who have been targeted with abusive chants, with Atalanta supporters throwing bananas at the latter in May 2014.

A year earlier, Boateng and his AC Milan team-mates walked off the pitch during a friendly match against Pro Patria when the midfielder was racially abused.

Source: PA