Suspended Lazio falconer Juan Bernabe suggested that his fascist salute was in fact only a ‘military’ salute.
Speaking in an interview with Italian news outlet Adnkronos yesterday, the trainer of the eagle Olimpia tried to explain what his gesture meant and claimed that he was not a fascist.
I’m sorry for what happened, in Spain the fascist gesture is done with the arm outstretched in a straight line. In Italy apparently it is also so, patting himself on the chest.
I am an absolutely right-wing person, I belong to the Vox party in Spain, as well as many footballer friends, but I am not a fascist, it is not in my mentality.
I am a man who has traveled the world, who does business all over the world and who has relationships with people of all races.
It was a gesture dictated by impulse celebrating the end of a game. A military salute, never fascist.
However it’s okay, these things are part of life, there are bad and good moments. And this for me is a bad moment.
Lazio took immediate action by suspending Bernabe and it’s likely that he won’t work with the club again, with president Claudio Lotito working to try and resolve the club’s historic issues with fascism.
The most famous case of a fascist incident involving Lazio came with forward Paolo Di Canio across several games during his two years with the club from 2004 to 2006.
Di Canio made the fascist ‘Roman’ salute to fans on multiple occasions whilst celebrating goals, drawing much controversy amongst the public.