Roma’s Mancini escapes ban after Lazio rat flag celebration

AS Roma defender Gianluca Mancini has been fined €5,000 euros ($5,430) but avoided a ban for waving a flag with a giant rat at the end of their clash with Lazio in Serie A on Saturday.

Mancini — who said he was “the happiest man in the world” after his goal gave Roma a 1-0 win in the capital derby — sparked controversy when he waved a huge flag with Lazio colors that also had a giant rat painted on it as he celebrated with his teammates in front of the Giallorossi fans.

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The Italian Football Federation opened an investigation the following day and, after reading its report, the league’s sporting judge opted to sanction Mancini with a fine.

Mancini, 27, had apologised after the match. “I didn’t want to offend anyone,” he said.

“I took the first flag they gave me.”

Roma fans have set up a crowdfunding account to pay Mancini’s fine. By early Wednesday, the GoFundMe page set up by supporter Lorenzo Contucci had raised more than €7,000 ($7,600) in less than 14 hours.

Contucci said that if Mancini decides to pay the fine himself, the money raised will be given to charity.

Contucci wrote that Rome derby “is also about ferocious high spirits and vulgar teasing” and that “Roma fans who see themselves in what Mancini did are invited to make a donation to reach the above amount to pay his fine.”