Lazio president Claudio Lotito highlighted the need for integration and equality in football today.

Speaking at the ‘Un calcio all’esclusione’ event at the Vatican (via LazioNews24) earlier today, the Biancocelesti president first discussed the importance of healthy competition and team spirit.

Sport favours merit, healthy competition, the ability to achieve certain goals. We need to harmonise individuality and make sure that they work in unison, as in a sort of orchestra. 

We’re thrilled that Lazio is the spokesperson for the universal language of sport. We will do this in Formello, our home. 

We live in a society of closure, of prejudice, which must be replaced by dialogue, by integration.

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The Lazio president then spoke about the objectives of the ‘Un calcio all’esclusione’ initiative and the need for equality in sport.

The objective is to bring to the attention of public opinion issues that are too often forgotten. 

There are fortunate and less fortunate children, who are deprived of the dream of expressing their own will, their own aspirations just because they belong to an ethnic group, for example the Roma, who are vilified. 

We want everyone to have the same dignity and opportunity and the same chance to prove their worth. With this match, we want to give everyone the opportunity to become champions.

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The ‘Un calcio all’esclusione’ event was hosted today at the Vatican, organised by the Diocese of Rome to promote the inclusion of the Roma people as well as other marginalised groups.

A match was played this afternoon in Formello between the Pope’s team Fratelli Tutti and the World Rom Organization in order to raise funds.

Lotito has been clear that Lazio are a team that stands for equality and inclusion, with no space for discrimination or racism.

His relationship with the more extreme elements in Lazio’s fanbase has seen him live with police protection in the past.