Italian league condemns racist chanting in Lazio’s cup win

MILAN (AP) — The Italian league’s governing body has vowed to do “everything in our power” to wipe out racism in soccer after another incident.

Lazio’s Italian Cup semifinal victory at AC Milan was overshadowed by continued racist abuse directed at Milan players Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie before and during the match on Wednesday. Inflatable bananas were also visible in the away section.

The Lega Serie A said in a statement on Thursday it “firmly condemns the racist episodes which have happened these past few days. The sport should bring out respect, inclusion and being together in harmony: Values that are at the base of the social initiatives that have always been promoted by the Lega Serie A.

“It is not acceptable that we have to hear verbal, intolerant abuse in our stadiums and, as we have done before … we will do everything in our power to oppose similar incidents. We also hope for the maximum collaboration from the police to help identify and punish those responsible who with their actions tarnish the image of our world.”

The latest incident came less than a month after Juventus teenager Moise Kean was racially abused at Cagliari — and then partially blamed for the incident by a teammate.

Lazio also condemned what happened on Wednesday.

“Lazio clearly distances itself from behavior and displays that do not in any way correspond to the values of sport that this club has promoted and supported for 119 years,” the club said. “And it rejects and contests the simplistic tendency of some parts of the media to consider the entire Lazio fan base responsible for the actions of a few isolated elements, for motivation that has nothing to do with passion for sport.

“The club has always fought for the respect of the law and for decency in behavior.”

There were two announcements over the speaker system at San Siro warning the fans to stop or the match would be suspended.

“It was disheartening to watch such an important sporting event in our stadium, whilst monkey noises and racist insults were coming from the stands. We must be extremely vigilant. Football is respect. Football should not divide but unite people,” AC Milan executive chairman Paolo Scaroni said in a statement.

Lazio won 1-0 to progress to the final against Atalanta or Fiorentina. The first leg ended 0-0.

Earlier in the day, around 50 Lazio fans unfurled a banner reading “honor to Benito Mussolini” near Piazzale Loreto, where the fascist dictator was killed at the end of World War II.

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