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Friday 5th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

by Our Sports Desk

Lazio were told yesterday that they will serve a two-match partial stadium ban after Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly was subjected to racist chants by a section of home fans at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night.

The referee’s report confirms the Senegalese was the target of abuse during the second half of a 2-0 Napoli victory, with match official Massimiliano Irrati deciding to halt play until the chanting abated.

Serie A’s disciplinary tribunal sanctioned Lazio by closing the Olimpico’s north stand, where the club’s hardcore supporters gather, for their next home league game against Hellas Verona.

The league has also activated a suspended partial ban issued last February after racist chanting in a match against Genoa, meaning the Curva Nord will remain closed for the visit of Sassuolo.

A statement said Lazio had to pay a €50,000 (£38,000) fine.

Koulibaly, whose every touch was met by boos from a cluster of Lazio fans, thanked Tuscan referee Irrati for his support with an Instagram post.

The 24-year-old wrote: “A great win. I must thank everybody for their messages of solidarity.

“I also want to thank the Lazio fans but most of all, for his courage, referee Irrati. Thanks also to my teammates, the club and our fans who have been a great support in the face of those ugly chants.”

Top-flight officials have been granted the power to halt or even abandon games in the face of discriminatory behaviour from fans following a series of racist incidents.

Mario Balotelli, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Kevin Constant are other players who have been targeted with abusive chants, with Atalanta supporters throwing bananas at the latter in May 2014.

A year earlier, Boateng and his AC Milan teammates walked off the pitch during a friendly match against Pro Patria when the midfielder was racially abused.