Anne Frank diary to be read at Serie A matches following Lazio anti-Semitism storm
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has confirmed a passage from the diary of Anne Frank will be read before this week's Serie A matches in response to an anti-Semitism storm involving Lazio fans.
Maintenance staff found graffiti and numerous anti-Semitism stickers in the south stand of the Stadio Olimpico following Lazio's clash with Cagliari, with some reportedly depicting Anne Frank in the jersey of fierce city rivals Roma.
The FIGC said copies of The Diary of Anne Frank and Primo Levi's If This Is A Man will be exchanged by team captains before kick-off of every Italian league game, with the books then donated to children.
A commemorative wreath will also be brought onto the pitch before "a moment's reflection" is held.
"Lega Serie A has always firmly condemned any form of racism or tolerance," the FIGC said in a statement.
"It is sad to have to point out the stupidity of sparse minorities of pseudo-fans who damage the image of all Italian football.
"The incidents of anti-Semitism that happened last Sunday are evidence that there is still much to be done and that the fight against discrimination is constantly being fuelled."
The stickers of Anne Frank, who chronicled her time hiding from the Nazis during the second World War before she was killed in a concentration camp, that are said to have been found have caused particular outrage.
— ACF Fiorentina (@acffiorentina) October 24, 2017
The head of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, was quoted as telling the European Parliament in Strasbourg that "using the image of Anne Frank as an insult against others is a very grave matter".
Italian prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, said the images were "unbelievable, unacceptable and to not be minimised".
Fiorentina tweeted footage of captain Davide Astori reading from the diary, along with the caption: "what happened cannot be deleted, but you can prevent it happening again".
Sunday's incident happened after the Stadio Olimpico's north stand – where Lazio's 'ultra' fans are usually located – was closed due to a punishment handed down to the club in response to racist chanting from some fans against Sassuolo on October 1, meaning the ultras had been allowed into the south section.
Lazio were quick to condemn the actions of the supporters and a delegation including president Claudio Lotito and centre-back Wallace attended a synagogue in Rome on Tuesday to underline the club's commitment to combating racism and discrimination.
He also confirmed there would be a new initiative to send 200 supporters to the site of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz as part of a plan to stamp out anti-Semitism.
"The biggest part of our supporters is against any form of racism," he said. "I'm here to declare my total opposition towards any kind of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism.
"The club is working hard to fight and prevent these incidents and the majority of our fans clearly support us.
"Lazio will promote an initiative: every year, 200 people will go and visit Auschwitz in order to make people aware of what we're talking about."
Lazio players will also wear a shirt with the image of Anne Frank before Wednesday's game against Bologna, with Lotito describing it as a sign of the club's "commitment to fighting all forms of racism and anti-Semitism".