Lazio released a statement after their far-right ultras reportedly tried to accost new signing Elseid Hysaj for singing a left-wing anthem during his initiation.
“It is the job of a Club to protect its player and remove him from situations where he is being used for personal and political gain,” read the statement.
“In this case they certainly had nothing to do with the informal and friendly context of the incident. The training retreat must continue in the climate of calm that we enjoyed up until today.”
The controversy erupted when Luis Alberto released a video on social media of Hysaj performing the usual initiation ritual of standing on a chair and singing in front of his new teammates.
The problem was the choice of song, ‘Bella Ciao,’ which became an anthem for anti-fascist partisan rebels during Germany’s occupation of Italy in the 1940s.
It has recently become a subject of contention between political factions, with the far right considering it a leftist song.
The reason Hysaj chose it was because it is also used in Netflix series Casa de Papel (Money Heist).
It’s likely Hysaj and Luis Alberto were entirely unaware of the various political connotations of the song, otherwise they would’ve realised that the far-right element of the Lazio ultras would not take kindly to it.
The Lazio statement is notable in that it doesn’t come down on one side or the other, it simply tries to clarify that Hysaj wasn’t aware of the connotations.
Certain sections of the Lazio organised ultras are affiliated with extremely right-wing political views, famously ‘honouring’ dictator Benito Mussolini.