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Lazio fined and given two-game partial stadium ban for racist chanting

The Curva Nord, which houses Lazio's "Ultras," will be empty for two matches after Tuesday's racist chants against Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

In the wake of Wednesday's deplorable behavior by Lazio fans, who showered Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly with racist chants, epithets, and monkey noises during Napoli's 2-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico, Lazio have been slapped with a fine and a partial stadium closure for their fans' actions.

After considering the match report from referee Massimiliano Irrati, which noted the full extent of the chanting, levied a €50,000 fine against Lazio and imposed a two-match closure of the Curva Nord, the section that houses Lazio's "Ultras" and the center of the racist chanting. Irrati's report specifically mentioned the Curva Nord's involvement in the chants, as well as naming two other neighboring sections -- with over 5,000 fans housed in the three sections.

The reaction will probably only galvanize the Lazio Ultras, who will surely find ways to populate other sections in the meantime. Sadly, this is probably only a symbolic gesture from the Lega, who have made similar punishments for incidents of racism and territorialism -- another problem frequently faced by Napoli and their fans -- without ever increasing the punishment for repeat incidents. The Curva Sud of the Stadio Olimpico -- home of the Roma Ultras -- was given a similar closure last season after an incident of Naples-aimed territorialism, but other recent incidents elsewhere in the league have gone unpunished.

Still, at least the issue has seen some punishment, and didn't just go ignored. That's something, and maybe, hopefully, we can finally start to see some positive change on a horrible issue that has plagued the sport for too long.