Lazio are facing the prospect of playing a home Europa League tie behind closed doors after Uefa charged their supporters with offences of a racist nature for the third time this season.
European football’s governing body confirmed on Tuesday that they have charged the club for the “racist behaviour” of their fans during last Thursday’s 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach as well as the “throwing of missiles and or fireworks” and “insufficient organisation”.
Lazio fans were found guilty of similar racist offences in the ties against Tottenham and Maribor. Following the game in Slovenia, Uefa suspended a sanction of playing a Europa League tie behind closed doors for a probationary period of two years.
That could now be imposed when Uefa’s control and disciplinary body meets on Wednesday and could mean the Stadio Olimpico is empty when Lazio host Stuttgart on 14 March in the second leg of their last-16 tie.
Mönchengladbach also face a charge after their fans lit fireworks in the stadium as Lazio advanced 5-3 on aggregate following a 3-3 draw in the first leg. The build-up to the match was overshadowed by trouble with 8,000 German fans having descended on Rome. Three Mönchengladbach fans were stabbed in confrontations although none of the injuries were serious.
The Lazio president, Claudio Lotito, was dismayed by the latest outbreak of violence although he felt it was unfair to blame the club. He told Sky Sport Italia: “I would urge the media not to label the protagonists of all these incidents as ‘Lazio fans’. Rome is a metropolis and as such is inhabited also by bad people.