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Italian court rules that antisemitic slurs in football match are “merely sports ridicule”

Two fans of the Italian football team Lazio have been acquitted after having been accused of antisemitic abuse during a game in 2013.

During a game against Calcio Catania, Lazio fans were caught on CCTV making antisemitic chants about their rivals, Roma.

They screamed the words “yellow-red Jew”, referring to the Roma strips, among other antisemitic language. The use of the word Jew as a pejorative is clearly antisemitic, regardless of the context.

However, the Judge has acquitted the fans on the basis that the antisemitic language is acceptable based on the “historic sports antagonism between the two urban teams” and the fact that they were not playing against Roma, writing off the abuse as “merely sports ridicule”

The head of Rome’s Jewish community said “This is, without doubt, an extremely dangerous precedent for justice in this country”. Unfortunately, this may make the word “Jew” acceptable to use as an insult.