French Cabinet Bans “Violent and Fascist” Lazio Fans from OM Game

The upcoming Europa League match between Olympique Marseille and Lazio has turned into a diplomatic incident. The French government has decided not only to deny Lazio fans access to the Velodrome but to prohibit them from entering the country altogether.

The ordinance penned by the Minister of the Interior Gèrald Darmanin cites “the recurrent violent behaviors by supporters near the stadium and in the towns that host matches” and “the repeated fascist chants and Roman salutes” as the reasons behind the choice.

Lazio replied with a statement: “We are not surprised by the decision, which is aligned with what happened in the first game in Italy. However, we are surprised by the fact that such a measure is applied to the entire country and by its unjustifiable motivations. The Club can not accept a cheap offense to its fanbase as it always took action to deter violence and any form of discrimination, inside and outside stadiums. We expect a clarification from the French institutions and the Italian diplomacy to take a stand against these general expressions that should outrage everybody.”

Some right-wing members of the parliament had similar complaints. In October 2018, in the last fixture between Olympique Marseille and Lazio, there was an all-out brawl that involved 200 people, and 4 persons had to be hospitalized for knife wounds. The recent clashes between local fans and Galatasaray ones left 32 police officers hurt. OM have already been sanctioned twice in Ligue 1 because of similar episodes, the Huffington Post indicates.