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Lazio face UEFA stadium ban

UEFA has charged Lazio fans with offences of a racist nature for the fourth time this season, with the club now facing the prospect of playing a Europa League tie behind closed doors.

As well as 'racist behaviour' from fans, the Rome club has been charged for the 'throwing of missiles and/or fireworks' and for 'insufficient organisation'. The offences occurred during last Thursday's 2-0 Europa League win over Borussia Monchengladbach.

The German club will also be charged after their fans lit fireworks in the stadium as their team crashed out 5-3 on aggregate.

Lazio fans have been found guilty of similar offences in ties in the Europa League against Tottenham and Maribor. UEFA suspended the behind-closed-doors sanction for a probationary period of two years but it could be imposed when UEFA's control and disciplinary body meet on Wednesday.

If the sanction is imposed it will mean the Stadio Olimpico will be empty for Lazio's second-leg tie with Stuttgart in the last-16 on March 14.

The build-up to the game with Monchengladbach was marred by trouble after three German fans were stabbed en route to the stadium, although none sustained serious injury.

Lazio president Claudio Lotito was dismayed by the violence but said it was unfair to blame the club.

He told Sky Italia: "Rome is a metropolis and as such is inhabited also by bad people. There is no suggestion so far that those behind these incidents were part of Lazio's organised fan groups."

"Nobody is trying to justify this behaviour but I say this because I am in constant contact with the police and want to understand if these people really are linked with Lazio. In my view they should do a quick trial and send them to prison for some time so they don't have the chance to do it again."


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