Italy bans the number 88 shirt in football


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Status: 06/28/2023 3:36 p.m

Neo-Nazis use a variety of symbols to show their attitude in everyday life. The number 88 is one of the most well-known ciphers used by right-wing extremists. Italy now bans them as shirt numbers in football.

She appreciates the decision, says Noemi Di Segni. For the President of the Union of Jewish Communities in Italy, the ban on the number 88 shirt is a “kick against racism”.

Di Segni and other Jewish representatives had campaigned to ban the number 88 from the sport. In the neo-Nazi scene, the 88 stands for the eighth letter of the alphabet: HH, as a cipher for “Heil Hitler”.

Incident at city derby fuels discourse

From the coming season, the number 88 will no longer be allowed in Italian football. This is at the heart of an agreement signed by Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi and Sport Minister Andrea Abodi with the Italian Football Federation.

In spring, an incident on the fringes of the Roman city derby caused a stir in Italy. A Lazio Roma fan was filmed in the stadium wearing a jersey with the inscription “Hitlerson” and the number 88 shirt.

Agreement prohibits symbolism

In the Italian football league, only two players currently wear the 88, the two Croatians Basic from Lazio Rome and Pasalic from Atalanta Bergamo. The president of the Jewish communities in Italy says she would like the Italian ban on the 88 to be implemented internationally. In the German Bundesliga, for more than ten years, only shirt numbers up to the number 40 have generally been permitted.

The agreement now signed by the government in Italy also stipulates that fans may no longer use symbols that have National Socialist or anti-Semitic references. In the future, games in Italy should be interrupted immediately if anti-Semitic chants are heard.

Italy under right government

The largest party in the Meloni government are the Italian Brothers, who themselves have neo-fascist roots. In her political statements, Prime Minister Meloni always makes a distinction between National Socialism and fascism. Meloni has repeatedly emphasized that her government is fighting anti-Semitism.

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