Lazio’s infamous ultras have sparked controversy by calling on female fans to stay away from their “sacred space” inside Stadio Olimpico.
A flyer was distributed inside the Rome-based club’s stadium ahead of a Serie A opener against Napoli on Saturday.
It advised that women should not join the ranks on the Curva Nord, where the hardcore section of the club’s followers are based.
The message was signed off by “Direttivo Diabolik Pluto” – one of the leaders of a group known as the Irreducibili.
“The Curva Nord represents for us a sacred space, an environment with an unwritten code to be respected,” read the flyer.
“The first few rows, as always, have been experienced like the trenches.
“In the trenches, we do not allow women, wives and girlfriends, so we invite them to position themselves from the 10th row back.
“Those who choose the stadium as an alternative to a carefree and romantic day in [Rome’s] Villa Borghese [gardens], should go to other sections.”
A Lazio spokesman condemned the actions of a minority, with the club eager to point that they are not supportive of such views.
Arturo Diconale told news agency Ansa : “It is not the position of the club, we are against any discrimination.”
He added: “Moreover, there is an enormous number of Lazio fans, this instead is an initiative from a few fans. We can’t always intervene to avoid politically incorrect displays like this.”
This is not the first time that Lazio’s ultras have caused trouble, with the club fined during the 2017-18 campaign after fans displayed anti-Semitic stickers of Holocaust victim Anne Frank in the shirt of arch-rivals Roma.
Their latest actions did nobody any good on the opening weekend of the new Italian top-flight season, with Lorenzo Insigne grabbing the winner in a 2-1 victory for Napoli at Stadio Olimpico .