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Ndokwa Vanguard

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Italian football bans players from wearing the No 88 shirt

Jun 28, 2023 #Sports

Italian football has banned players from wearing the No 88 shirt because of its links to Adolf Hitler in a clampdown on anti-Semitism.

The number has been used by neo-Nazi groups to symbolise the slogan ‘Heil Hitler’ with the letter ‘H’ being the eighth number of the alphabet.

Back in  March, a fan was seen wearing a Lazio shirt with the name ‘Hitlerson’ and the No 88 on the back. That supporter and two others who performed 

‘Roman salutes’ associated with fascism were banned from attending any games at the Stadio Olimpico in the future.

Gianluigi Buffon is the highest profile player to wear the No 88 shirt in the past during his time at Parma, but he later changed numbers after he admitted he ‘didn’t know the hidden meaning’ of 88.

Members of Italy’s government and Italian Football Association (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina signed an agreement on Tuesday to ban players from wearing the number.

The ban also calls for games to be suspended in case of anti-Semitic chants or acts.

Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said the moves are ‘an adequate and efficient response to intolerable prejudice that too often arises in our stadiums.’

FIGC president Gravina added that football’s credibility is ‘hurt by discriminatory behaviour’ and has a ‘direct reflection on Italian society’.

The action means that any player in the Serie A and the lower leagues in Italy, who wears the No 88 will have to pick a new shirt before the start of the season.

Atalanta’s Mario Pasalic and Lazio’s Toma Basic are two players who will be affected by the rule change. There is no suggestion the players knew about the connection of the number of fascism.

The initiative includes the addition of a code of ethics in accordance with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

The fan who wore the ‘Hitlerson’ shirt at Lazio during the Rome derby in March was set to face charges under the 1993 Mancino law against gestures, actions and slogans hailing Nazism or Fascism.

Italian football bans players from wearing the No 88 shirt

Rome’s Jewish community condemned the alleged anti-Semitic behaviour after the match.

Ruth Dureghello, president of the Jewish community of Rome, wrote on social media: ‘An entire stand chanting anti-Semitic chants, a “fan” in the stands wearing a Hitlerson jersey and the number 88, and we, as always, the only ones outraged and protesting.

‘Can it be that everyone continues to pretend that nothing is happening?’

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