Lazio fined $190K for fans' racist abuse
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Lazio has avoided being ordered by UEFA to play a Europa League match in an empty stadium despite a third conviction for racist abuse by fans this season.
UEFA said on Wednesday it fined Lazio €140,000 ($190,000) and deferred a stadium closure "for a probationary period of two years."
Lazio was found guilty of racist behavior among a range of offenses relating to its home match against Tottenham in Rome on Nov. 22 and a game in Slovenia against Maribor on Dec. 6.
In addition to chants, Lazio fans displayed a "Free Palestine" banner at the Olympic Stadium, taunting Tottenham which traditionally draws fans from London's Jewish community.
UEFA previously fined the Italian club €40,000 (then $52,300) for its fans' racist behavior when it first played Tottenham, in London in September.
Lazio has earned €2.6 million ($3.53 million) in UEFA bonuses and prize money by winning its Europa League group. It can get further payments from UEFA for advancing through knockout rounds, and the club will also collect a share of Italian broadcasting revenues for the competition.
UEFA's disciplinary panel ruling will stir further debate on the severity of sanctions for incidents involving racism and discrimination inside stadiums.