Roma risk ban for anti-semitic banners

January 30, 2006

ROME, Jan 30 (Reuters) - AS Roma risk a stadium ban after their fans held up banners with neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic slogans during a 3-0 win over Livorno in Serie A at the weekend.

The club immediately sought to distance itself from its fans.

'I'm absolutely against anyone who tries to bring politics into the stadiums,' Roma coach Luciano Spalletti was quoted as saying in Corriere dello Sport on Monday. 'It should remain outside.'

The mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, reflected the coach's words and added: 'Rome is the city of the deportation of the Jews, the city of the Fosse Ardeatine (the site where German soldiers killed Jews during the Second World War). We cannot tolerate behaviour of this kind.'

Roma narrowly avoided a stadium ban earlier this season after a bottle hit the referee at the end of the derby with Lazio.

Among the people calling for the club to be punished was the head of the city's Jewish community, Vittorio Pavoncello.

'We will ask for the intervention of the sporting authorities,' he said.

The incident will cause more damage to Italian football's tarnished public image.

Lazio's Paolo Di Canio has received 10,000 euro fines and one-match bans twice in the last month for making raised-arm fascist salutes during Serie A games.