Lazio face action over Warsaw arrests
Lazio face having their fans banned from their final Europa League group game by UEFA following reports of as many as 200 fans being arrested on Warsaw on Thursday.
Gazzetta dello Sport claims that 150 Lazio fans were arrested in the Polish capital on the night their team beat Legia Warsaw 2-0, with around 60 held in custody overnight and the rest ordered to leave the country immediately. Those incidents came after 17 other Lazio fans had been expelled after causing trouble in one of the city's hotels the night before the game.
The reports are likely to test UEFA's patience of a club who are already on the disciplinary radar due to the conduct of their followers in the past, meaning they could play their final group fixture -- against Trabzonspor in Rome on Dec. 12 -- without any home supporters.
Last season, Lazio were forced to stage their last-16 and quarterfinal ties in the Europa League behind closed doors at the Stadio Olimpico while a similar sanction for the start of this campaign was only lifted at the 11th hour.
They must now fear having to play without their supporters once again, although coach Vladimir Petkovic says some form of action must be taken to rid football of such people.
"I'm truly disappointed by this because it's not part of football and it has nothing to do with sport," he said at a news conference. "We all want to be able to go to the stadium with families so this needs to be dealt with and we've got to be really severe against those people who just want to fight."
The Rome-based club initially denied any wrongdoings with their director of sport Ighli Tare telling Sky Sport that he was "not aware of any clashes" and that the police had only intervened "to escort around 80 Lazio fans from the city centre to the stadium because they did not feel safe.
"They were stopped [by the police], but only to check their passports. We don't know of anything other than this."
UEFA is expected to take a dim view of the Lazio fans taking the headlines for the wrong reasons once again and sanctions can be expected when its disciplinary committee convene to discuss the week's events and reads the report of the match delegate.
Lazio and Trabzonspor have both qualified for the last 32, although a home win at the Olimpico would earn the Biancoceleste top spot.