Celtic aren’t the only Europa League Group E side who are on a mission against a section of their support following a UEFA charge.
Our upcoming opponents Lazio are also in the midst of some civil unrest after they were cited for alleged racist behaviour during last week’s game against Rennes. Ironically, the Italian giants were already under UEFA caution during the game against Julien Stephan’s side following an incident last season.
However, their supporters have been accused once again of racist behaviour and their punishment this time could see the entire stadium closed off for their next home match – which happens to be against Celtic.
The Serie A club released a statement promising to get to the bottom of what had occurred and banish it from the Stadio Olimpico.
“S.S. Lazio announces that it has received from UEFA a charge concerning the behaviour of some supporters responsible for having engaged in acts defined as racist.
“In confirming that it will defend its reputation and tradition, the club announces that it has immediately set in motion initiatives aimed at finding those responsible, and will rigorously apply the code of ethics to remove the perpetrators from the stadium.” (Daily Record)
It will be interesting to see how Lazio vs UEFA turns out
Of course, issues of racism can not be compared to the less serious problem of pyrotechnics at matches. However it will be interesting to see how both issues get sorted out by UEFA next Thursday. A fine is the most likely outcome for Celtic but the punishment could be far more severe for Lazio.
Normally you would think that playing in an empty away stadium would be a boost for Celtic. The possibility of being intimidated by a vocal home support would disappear. However, we’re likely to have around the same number of fans at the Stadio Olimpico as the hosts next month, so what’s the difference really?
The Italians register desperate crowds in the Europa League so their home support are unlikely to intimidate Neil Lennon’s men anyway. It will be interesting to see what happens on Thursday.