I know thousands have planned a trip to Rome for the Lazio game next month but news that Uefa may make this a closed doors game throws an interesting spanner in the works. Two years ago Uefa closed the Olympic Stadium for the Europa League game between Lazio and Belgian side Zulte Waregem after the home club were disciplined for multiple racist infractions. The governing body have now charged Lazio again after an alleged similar offense in their recent home game against Rennes.
Some of the racist and anti-Semitic actions Lazio fans have been disciplined for in recent years are staggering. For many, it is perhaps more staggering that a stadium closure has served no purpose. You and I have discussed this over the years. The perpetrators construct a victim narrative; some nefarious force is out to get them.
Their individual reputations are not damaged while their club’s is demeaned, it does not cost them a single euro, in fact, it saves them the cost of a match ticket and gives them the satisfaction that comes from celebrated notoriety that perhaps only a Downing Street strategist could come close to. This notoriety is not be how you get your kicks, but others are hooked on it.
If this game is played behind closed doors and you have bought a flight to Rome, there are worse places to spend a day. Take in lots of the sights, find a safe haven to watch on TV and enjoy the city.