Lazio fans' flyer calls for women to avoid Stadio Olimpico's Curva Nord
A group of Lazio fans have caused outrage by telling women to avoid their "sacred space" in a section of the club's Stadio Olimpico.
The ultras distributed flyers ahead of their team's Serie A opener at home to Napoli on Saturday.
"The Curva Nord represents for us a sacred space, an environment with an unwritten code to be respected," read the flyer in Italian.
"The first few rows, as always, have been experienced like the trenches. In the trenches, we do not allow women, wives and girlfriends, so we invite them to position themselves from the 10th row back.
"Those who choose the stadium as an alternative to a carefree and romantic day in Villa Borghese [public gardens in Rome], should go to other sections.''
The flyer was signed by "Direttivo Diabolik Pluto," one of the leaders of the Irreducibili ultras group.
Lazio spokesman Arturo Diaconale told Italian news agency Ansa on Sunday that "it is not the position of the club, we are against any discrimination."
"Moreover, there is an enormous number of Lazio fans, this instead is an initiative from a few fans," Diaconale added. "We can't always intervene to avoid politically incorrect displays like this."
Former Italy women's national team striker Carolina Morace condemned the "idiot" fans.
Morace, who played for Lazio during a career which saw her capped 153 times by her country, and score 105 goals, said she was taken aback by the message they were delivering.
"We're back in medieval times and I cannot tolerate this kind of thing anymore, it cannot be justified," Morace, who is now coach of AC Milan's women's team, told ANSA. "I have a bond with Lazio fan because I wore the Biancocelesti shirt for a long time and I know that the majority of their fans are correct and passionate, but this initiative, taken by a small group, is out of order.
"It's just some idiots. We're in 2018 and there are many female fans and clubs have done a lot of campaigning over the years to attract more women to follow football. I really hope that these people get banned from entering the stadium."
Italian federation commissioner Roberto Fabbricini also condemned the fans, calling the flyer "the bad joke of the summer."
"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," he toldRadio Anch'io Sport.
Some Lazio fans caused outrage last season when they littered the Stadio Olimpico in Rome with images of Anne Frank -- the young diarist who died in the Holocaust- wearing a jersey of city rival Roma.
Lazio were fined €50,000 by the Italian football federation for the anti-Semitism displayed by the fans.
That was just one in a series of racist and anti-Semitic incidents, with Lazio previously having their stadium fully or partly closed for European and domestic matches as punishment.