Italy FA chief slams Lazio fans call to ban women as ‘bad joke’

Men only? Lazio’s fans at the Olympic stadium on Saturday. (AFP pic)

MILAN: Italy’s football federation chief on Monday slammed as a “bad joke” the call by die-hard Lazio ultra fans to ban women to the back rows of the Olympic Stadium in Rome.

A leaflet being attributed to Lazio ultras was circulated before the team’s opening Serie A game — a 2-1 loss to Napoli — calling for women to be banned from the “sacred place” of the front rows in the Italian capital.

“It was the bad joke of the summer,” FIGC commissioner Roberto Fabbricini told Radio Anch’io Sport on Monday.

“When we talk about a stadium that must go back to being a meeting point for families, ghettoising a group of people seems very stupid to me.”

Italian media reported that those who distributed the leaflets had been identified by police using video footage who have passed their findings on to prosecutors.

The leaflets were circulated on the north stand which Lazio fans occupy.

“The Curva Nord for us represents a sacred place. An environment with an unwritten code to be respected,” read the flyer signed “Direttivo Diabolik Pluto”.

“The first rows, as always, we experience them as if they were a trenched line. We do not admit women, wives or girlfriends, so, if this is the case, we invite you to position yourself from row 10 onwards.

“Those who choose the stadium as an alternative to the carefree and romantic day at Villa Borghese (one of the main parks in Rome), go to other areas.”

Lazio’s ultras fans have often courted controversy and the club was fined 50,000 euros last year after supporters displayed stickers showing Holocaust victim Anne Frank in a Roma shirt along with anti-Semitic messages.

Bitter city rivals Lazio and Roma share the Olympic Stadium.