Connect with us


Italy bans number 88 from football shirts in drive against anti-Semitism

Footballers in Italy were banned on Tuesday from wearing the number 88 on their shirts as part of an anti-Semitism initiative coordinated by Italy’s government and football federation (FIGC).

The country’s Interior and Sport Ministers, as well as the coordinator in combatting anti-Semitism, signed an agreement with FIGC chief Gabriele Gravina to battle the phenomenon in Italian stadiums.

The agreement also provides for matches being interrupted “in the event of anti-Semitic chanting or behaviour”.

The number 88 is a reference to the Nazi Germany slogan “Heil Hitler” as the letter ‘h’ is the eighth letter of the alphabet.

One Lazio fan was pictured wearing a replica top with the name “Hitlerson” and the number 88 on the back during March’s local derby with Roma.

He was a German supporter and one of three people banned for life from attending matches by Lazio.

That match which was also marred by mass anti-Semitic chants by Lazio fans, an offence which led to a suspended one-match stand closure.

A fortnight before a group of around 100 of Lazio fans were filmed proudly calling themselves racist in a chant which insulted Roma supporters by saying their fathers were deported to Nazi concentration camps.

The incident was one of a litany involving Lazio’s hardcore fans, some of the most right wing in a country where fascist fan groups are a widespread phenomenon.

Last season the handler of Lazio’s eagle mascot praised dictators Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco after being suspended by the club for performing a fascist salute at the end of a match.

Two players in Serie A — Atalanta midfielder Mario Pasalic and Lazio’s Toma Basic, both Croatia internationals — wore the number 88 on their shirts in the season just finished.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


World Cup News


More in Football