Apology to Jewish Community a 'Charade', Italian Soccer Club President Caught Saying Amid Anne Frank Storm

'These people are worth nothing,' Lazio club president Claudio Lotito said about synagogue members he was en-route to apologize for following his team's anti-Semitic scandal

Lazio soccer team president Claudio Lotito gives a statement to the press after laying a wreath outside Rome's Great Synagogue, October 24, 2017.
Gregorio Borgia/AP

Claudio Lotito, President of Italian soccer club “Lazio” whose fans caused a storm last week after they littered the stadium with images of Anne Frank wearing the jersey of arch rival team “Roma,” has come under fire for calling his own apology to the Rome Synagogue a "charade."

Lotito visited the Rome Synagogue on Tuesday, bringing with him a blue and white flower wreath, and a promise that he would personally would take 200 of his so-called ultrafans on an educational trip to Auschwitz every coming year.

>> Lazio's Anne Frank 'insult' is hardly shocking. Italian soccer is viciously anti-Semitic to its core | Opinion <<

While boarding a flight from Milan to Rome before his trip to the synagogue, passengers recorded the president complaining that none of the Jewish community's leaders were available to meet him, saying "These people don't count a damn, they are worth nothing - do you realize how pathetic the whole thing is? Let's go do this charade."

Stadium cleaners found the anti-Semitic stickers left behind in the section where Lazio's raucous superfans sit. In response to the incident and a long history of racist fandom, Italian Sports Minister Luca Lotti is threatening a full stadium ban on the team.

Members of the media surround Lazio soccer team president Claudio Lotito as he gives a statement to the press after laying a wreath outside Rome's Synagogue on Tuesday, October 24, 2017.
Gregorio Borgia/AP

Until then, Lotti announced that a passage from "The Diary of Anne Frank" will be read aloud before every professional, amateur and youth soccer match begins.  

This soccer team director is no stranger to scandal. A few weeks ago, Lazio’s ultras superfans chanted boos against black players from the Sassuolo club. The fans' section of “Stadio Olimpico” was thereafter closed for two games as a punishment by the Italian Federation of Football. Lotito allowed still allowed fans to purchase tickets in another section of the stadium, for one euro.