The history of Lazio and the flirtations on the part of its fans with fascist aesthetics and ideas is long and full of uncomfortable chapters. Never before had a Spaniard starred in them, and less with such a particular mission at the club. Juan Bernabé, from Cádiz, had been the trainer of the eagle that flies over the Olympic in Rome for 10 years before each game that Lazio plays at home. This weekend, however, when he passed some fans who chanted the word “duce”, the nickname by which Mussolini was known, Bernabé raised his left arm several times, smiled and left with the eagle in the other arm. Even the ultras were shocked. “I can’t believe it,” says one in the recording that has been broadcast on the networks. The club has fired him.
The Roman club already has other antecedents of fascist episodes. Paolo Di Canio also made the fascist salute in 2006 in a match against Livorno, whose fans are known for their communist ideological leanings. Four years ago, some ultras of the capital club left some stickers with a photomontage on the south end of the Olympic Stadium that showed Anne Frank with the Roma shirt. An incident that unleashed the ire of the Jewish community in the city, which once again protested angrily with the event starring Barnabas.
The man from Cádiz, who for years had the same job at Benfica, issued a statement in which he regretted what happened and declared himself a follower of the Spanish Vox party. “I’m sorry for what just happened; in Spain the fascist gesture is made with the arm extended in a straight line. In Italy it is apparently also like that, patting himself on the chest. I am an absolutely right-wing person, from the Vox party in Spain, as well as many soccer friends. But I am not of a fascist idea, it is not really in my mentality ”, he justified himself. “It was a gesture dictated by momentum, celebrating the end of a match. A military salute, never fascist. In any case, these things are part of life, there are good and bad moments. And this is a bad time for me. “
Lazio, the Italian Serie A (First Division) club, reported on Wednesday that it temporarily suspended the coach. “Upon learning of the existence of a video in which Juan Bernabé (who belongs to a company outside of Lazio) is seen making gestures that offend the club, the fans and the values we are inspired by, measures were taken towards the company to immediately suspend the person and the possible termination of current contracts, “he said in a statement. The Roman club stressed that “in recent weeks” it sent a letter to the workers who collaborate with the entity so that “their behavior respects the principles on which it was always inspired” and that “particular attention was placed on the absolute prohibition of drinking discriminatory attitudes ”.
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