AVB: Fine won't stop racist chants

21 November 2012 07:49

Andre Villas-Boas fears Lazio's fine for monkey chanting will not stop their fans doing the same again on Thursday when they host Tottenham at the Stadio Olimpico in the Europa League.

Lazio were last month fined £32,500 after UEFA found their fans guilty of chanting racist abuse towards Jermain Defoe, Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon in September's 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane.

UEFA have been criticised in the past for their lenient punishments for racism and Villas-Boas told a press conference on Wednesday night: "UEFA decided to punish Lazio and rightly so. It doesn't mean that incidents won't happen again tomorrow."

He added: "I think the players are in the right frame of mind to leave the authorities to deal with those situations in case it happens. That's something that hopefully will not happen tomorrow."

Spurs defender Steven Caulker is all too aware of the fact that racism has reared its ugly head in the game once again this season. He played in the controversial goalless draw against the Italians in September and was also on the pitch when the England Under-21 team were subjected to monkey chanting in Serbia four weeks later.

Fans and players of the Rome club have been accused of an affiliation with right-wing politics in Italy in the past, but he hopes there will be no trouble in the Group J match in Rome.

"I'm not worried about the atmosphere - I hope football does the talking," the England centre-half said. "Italy is a great footballing country. Hopefully that will be the talking point tomorrow."

Spurs will progress to the knockout stages of the Europa League if they beat the Italian giants in the Eternal City. The Londoners have struggled so far in the competition, with their only win coming in their last game against Slovenian minnows Maribor.

A draw should still be enough to see Villas-Boas' men through, providing they beat Panathinaikos in the final group game in December. Villas-Boas, who won the Europa League two years ago with Porto, would like to wrap up qualification on Thursday, however.

"It's all about this game," the 35-year-old said. "It will be important for us to win and qualify. It will give the squad an important feeling of beating a great team away from home."

Source: PA