Lazio captain Paolo Di Canio is to face a disciplinary hearing over a fascist salute allegedly made by the striker in last month’s Rome derby.

Photographs showed Di Canio extending his right arm to the Lazio fans after scoring the opening goal in the 3-1 victory over their bitter rivals Roma on January 6.

The Italian football federation (FIGC) have studied the evidence and have asked Di Canio to explain his actions.

Di Canio, 36, has denied he intended to cause offence, while Lazio president Claudio Lotito has defended his skipper.

Italy’s former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini used to support Lazio and a number of the club’s supporters are reported to support groups with fascist leanings.

*Read about the Do Canio controversy in the February 2005 issue of World Soccer