Lazio label reporting of fans' racist chanting "a form of psychosis"
Lazio's win over Novara was the latest match in Italy to be marred by racist chants
A spokesperson for Lazio has referred to the reporting about anti-Semitic and racist chanting from the club's fans as "a form of psychosis focusing on either a minority or non-existent incidents".
Anti-Semitic and racist chants were heard throughout the first half of the Serie A club's 4-1 Coppa Italia victory over Serie C side Novara at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.
The chants, which are believed to have come from the Curva Nord area of the stadium and were aimed at Lazio's rivals AS Roma, saw supporters shout "Yellow, red and Jewish" and "This Roma that looks like Africa".
Despite a number of attendees confirming that they had heard the offensive chanting in the half-empty stadium, spokesman Arturo Diaconale said that the vast majority of people did not hear anything.
“I am here to talk about the racist and anti-Semitic chants that are supposed to have happened,” said Diaconale in the club's press room after the game.
“I am part of the 98 per cent of people in the stadium who didn’t hear them. The club naturally condemns any racist or anti-Semitic chant, but we have to consider the dimensions of the phenomenon.
“I think it’s a form of psychosis focusing on either a minority or non-existent incidents. I read about chants as if the entire stadium had participated in them. We mustn’t turn this into a mass panic over nothing.
“I invite our colleagues in the media to give the right degree of consideration to incidents that would normally be ignored."
The chants come just weeks after Napoli's Senegalese centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly was subject to alleged racist chanting during a match against Inter Milan at the San Siro.
An obviously frustrated Koulibaly was sent off during the match for two yellow cards, and after the game his manager Carlo Ancelotti expressed his frustration with the situation.
"The next time we'll stop playing, even if we lose the match," Ancelotti said.
"What happened today is not good not only for us but also for Italian football as a whole.
"I'm very sorry about what happened to Koulibaly. The boy was on edge, he is an educated footballer who was targeted. Despite our requests the match was not interrupted. I'm unhappy because three times we asked for the match to be suspended."