The FIFA Ethics and Regulations watch (FERW) applauds the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) for imposing a €5,000 fine on AS Roma defender Gianluca Mancini for his actions following the Serie A derby win over Lazio on Saturday.

Mancini, who scored the winning goal in the 1-0 victory, ignited controversy during the post-match celebrations. He was seen waving a large flag bearing Lazio’s colours, which also prominently displayed a caricature of a rat. This imagery is widely recognised by Italian football fans as a derogatory symbol associated with Lazio supporters.

FERW recognises Mancini’s subsequent apology, stating he “didn’t want to offend anyone” and “took the first flag they gave me.” However, the organisation emphasises the inherent responsibility of professional athletes to uphold sportsmanship and avoid actions that incite animosity or disrespect rival teams and their fans.

While Mancini’s intent may not have been malicious, the symbolism behind the flag is undeniable, believes the team at FERW. Serie A, and Italian football in general, have a long and complex history with fan rivalries that can sometimes boil over into negativity. It’s crucial for players to be mindful of their actions and the potential impact on the wider football community.

The €5,000 fine serves as a necessary reminder to players of their role in fostering a respectful and inclusive environment within the sport.

FERW urges Serie A and the FIGC to continue taking a proactive stance against unsporting behaviour and discriminatory symbols. We also advocate for ongoing educational initiatives directed towards players and fans to promote mutual respect and understanding across rivalries.

FERW believes that Serie A has a global audience, and professional footballers like Mancini serve as role models for millions. By taking a firm stance against such actions, the FIGC sends a clear message that fostering a positive and inclusive fan culture is a top priority.

FERW remains committed to working with Italian football authorities and all stakeholders within Serie A to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for fans and players alike.

Additionally, FERW hopes this incident serves as a learning experience for Mancini and other players. Positive gestures of sportsmanship, like exchanging jerseys with opponents or applauding opposing fans after a close match, can go a long way in fostering a more respectful atmosphere within Serie A. By promoting such behaviour alongside disciplinary actions, Italian football can move towards a future where passionate rivalries exist without resorting to offensive symbols or actions.


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