Far-Right Fans of Rome Soccer Club Lazio Use Fascist Salute at Match

The far-right fascist behaviour of Lazio’s supporters at Italy’s elite soccer match has sparked outrage among Italian Jews.

Italian Jews call on the Rome soccer club “Lazio” to denounce fascist salutes by its supporters following Italy’s elite Series A competition, where Lazio won 3–1 against Inter Milan. The scene of victory was accompanied by the traditional fascist greeting and chanting of “Duce, Duce” (referring to the wartime fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini) from the violent far-right supporters of the club. The chanting was led by a man wearing the blue and white colours of the club, holding an eagle (the team’s mascot).

After the match, on 16 October, the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) called on Lazio to condemn fascist behaviour by its fans.

“In a statement, UCEI President, Noemi Di Segni,  said that Lazio and the Italian Football Federation should ‘intervene with the utmost urgency and effectiveness,’” writes the Algemenier.

“Faced with the ostentation of gestures and symbols that evoke fascist ideals, there can be no ambiguity and hesitation,” Di Segni declared, adding that “the world of football must free itself from fascists and carriers of hatred, a hatred that from the soccer fields spreads to the squares.”

Di Segni demanded legal intervention to assess whether the words and gestures of the man with the eagle, Juan Bernabe, were criminal, emphasising that merely banning the supporter from matches is not enough. The Spanish Bernabe voiced that he has no regrets over his actions because he believes in right-wing values and respects the fascist dictator Mussolini (as well as Franco).

Lazio’s violent far-right supporters call themselves the “Irriducibile” and are notorious for their antisemitic and racist chants and actions. They are also connected to extremist groups and criminal gangs.

In the meantime, Lazio sparked further controversy, as the defender, Romano Floriani Mussolini, the great-grandson of the fascist dictator and third son of Allessandra Mussolini, was among the players at the weekend match. His mother has been representing neo-fascist parties in the Italian parliament for a long time.

“Here at Lazio, I am judged only for the way I play and not because my surname is Mussolini,” the 18-year-old declared.