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UEFA urged to make example of Lazio
UEFA have been urged to come down hard on Lazio after they charged the Italian club with improper conduct in relation to alleged racist chanting towards Tottenham players during Thursday's Europa League game.
UEFA confirmed that they had opened disciplinary proceedings against Lazio for alleged monkey chanting. The Italian club can expect a fine of 20,000 euros (around £16,000) if their fans are found guilty of racist abuse, but UEFA also have the option of much stronger punishments like forcing the club to play a game behind closed doors.
Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), said: "UEFA normally operate a 'three strikes and you're out' policy, and I think Lazio are at first base in that respect, but if (UEFA) really want to set the bar high, if they really want to send out a strong message, then I think they can do so regardless of whether it's a first or second offence."
He added: "I therefore think that UEFA could move directly to something like a match behind closed doors (punishment).
"They could suspend that punishment, perhaps, and then if something happens further down the line, then they can trigger that.
"Lazio are a strong club. They have been part of the European football scene for a long time. There needs to be quite a hard symbolic action taken when these instances occur.
"This punishment is one way of waking the club and the fans up to some of the problems that they face."