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By ESPN Staff
Dec 19, 2005

Di Canio banned and fined for facist salute

ROME, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Lazio's Paolo Di Canio has been banned for one game and fined 10,000 euros ($12,000) for making a raised-arm salute in a match earlier this month, the Italian Football League's disciplinary committee announced on Monday.

The 37-year-old striker, who made the fascist salute during the 2-1 Serie A defeat at Livorno on Dec. 11, will now miss Lazio's trip to Lecce on Wednesday.

The gesture was attacked by politicians, players, fans and Jewish groups in Italy.

Sepp Blatter, president of world soccer's governing body FIFA, said players making fascist salutes should be banned from the game for life.

Even Lazio distanced themselves from Di Canio, saying the club rejected any 'politicisation' of football.

Di Canio defended the gesture, saying it was not intended as a political statement and that he would continue to acknowledge his fans in whatever way he chooses.

The match in Livorno was as much a conflict of political views as a sporting event.

Livorno are known in Italy for the hard left-wing politics of their supporters while Lazio's ultras have often aligned themselves with the far right.

The game was played in a poisonous atmosphere. The home supporters chanted anti-facist songs while the visitors held up a swastika.

Di Canio also made the salute at the end of Lazio's 3-1 win over city rivals AS Roma in January.

On that occasion he was fined 10,000 euros and escaped a ban.