NEIL LENNON insists he would encourage his Celtic players to WALK OFF if they experience racist abuse in their forthcoming Europa League Group E games against Lazio.

The champions face the Serie A outfit at Parkhead on Thursday and travel to face them in Rome on November 7, with around 9,000 supporters planning to make the trip.

The Italians were given a partial stadium ban for the visit of the Hoops following racist behaviour by their supporters against French side Rennes earlier this month.

Lennon, speaking to BBC Sport, said: “I would not discourage any player from walking off the pitch if he’s getting racially abused.

“I think I would encourage it because it’s pointing out that there is a wrong here. We all have to do a little bit more to prevent it and for individuals it’s personal and it’s very, very hurtful.”

Lazio were also fined around £17,340 for the incidents during the 2-1 win over Rennes which follows a charge for a similar offence in February.

The Celtic manager’s comments come in the week England players were subjected to racist abuse during a Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia.

Bulgarian authorities have so far identified 16 suspects and made 12 arrests for offences such as racist chanting and making Nazi salutes.

Asked if he thought fines and stadium bans were enough to deter the misbehaviour, Lennon answered: “No. I don’t think that’s working because it’s not going away.

“It’s awful. It’s just rearing it’s ugly head again. It’s embarrassing for the individual countries and the individual associations and the people who run those associations, as well.

“I mean, the scenes in Bulgaria looked like it was all premeditated with the way they were dressed and behaving.

“How these guys get in to the stadium in the first place – that needs to be looked at.”


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