Lazio’s Paolo di Canio has defended himself from accusations of making a fascist salute at the end of last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Livorno.

The incident happened as di Canio approached the travelling Lazio fans at the end of the game.

“I saluted my people with what for me is a sign of belonging to a group that holds true values, values of civility against the standardisation that this society imposes upon us,” the striker told Italian radio station Radio Spazio Aperto.

“I’m proud to be able to count on such people and I will continue to salute them in this way.”

“I was the object of very heavy insults throughout the match, but I didn’t react,” Di Canio said.

It is not the first time Di Canio has made the same gesture. He was fined 10,000 euros for doing the same at the end of Lazio’s win over arch-rivals Roma in January.

“I expect a robust defence from my club and this time I’m not going to settle for anything less,” said di Canio.

“I expect my president to defend me, just like presidents do in other clubs, otherwise I’m going to be really pissed off.”

However, Lazio appeared to distance themselves from the gesture.

“Lazio repudiates any kind of racism or politicisation of football, both on the pitch and off it, and invites its shareholders and its fans to react against any attempt to pollute the language of sport,” it said on its website.

Meanwhile, Di Canio refused to apologise to the Jewish community who were angered by his salute.

“If we are in the hand of the Jewish community it’s the end,” he said. “If action is taken because one community is up in arms it could be dangerous.”

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