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Should Juve receive stadium ban for Balotelli abuse?

April 20, 2009

After years of racist chanting from the stands, Italian soccer has finally realised it has a problem.

Inter Milan goalscorer Mario Balotelli, born in Palermo and of Ghanaian descent, was racially abused by sections of the Juventus crowd during Saturday’s 1-1 Serie A draw in Turin.

Fans sang “a black Italian does not exist” at the Italy under-21 international.

Maybe it is because the high-profile game was a top-of-the-table clash, maybe it is because Balotelli is Italian, but this time the revulsion felt by fans and the media is much greater than at any time in the past.

Monkey chants towards non-Italian black players are a reasonably regular occurence but clubs normally get just a small fine, like 8,000 euros, from the league. Media coverage is minimal.

This time even some Juve supporters are calling on the authorities to make an example of the Turin club and make them play games behind closed doors at the Stadio Olimpico or force them to move their matches to another stadium.

Making them play at another stadium might not be a huge punishment, though. Despite what Inter and AC Milan think, Juve are Italy’s biggest club and most of their fans are from the rest of the country not Turin. Being forced to play games in the south for example would please many Juve supporters who rarely see their team.

The newspapers expect nothing more than the usual fine but momentum is building with the police involved and Inter president Massimo Moratti saying he would have pulled his team off the pitch if he had been in Turin on Saturday.

Balotelli is a controversial character who likes to wind up opponents and fans but no one deserves the treatment he received.

UPDATE: JUVE MUST PLAY ONE GAME BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

PHOTOS: Inter Milan’s Mario Balotelli (C) celebrates with supporters after scoring against Juventus during their Serie A match in Turin, April 18, 2009. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Comments

I think a stadium ban would be justified. Italy must show it means business on racism. The Italian media need to get its priorities right too. After Inter and Roma drew 3-3 last month, they were so busy criticising Balotelli for sticking his tongue out at Panucci and allegedly diving for a penalty that they paid minimum attention to the racist chants he received in that match.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive
 

u knw what in some sense i think baloteli deserved it. i am not glad he was disciminated against because both baloteli and i share the same home country even though he denies that as mch as he can. he warned of this behavior of italian fans that no matter how good he was they would still do this. instead he chastised ghana 4 just approaching him to play claiming he was not ghanaian and didnt want to be. hope he enjoys being an italian now.

Posted by kobe owusu | Report as abusive
 

I agree with Kobe on his denial of his roots but any sort of racism I dont care how his behaviour was leading up tp this past Sunday. Racism shouldn’t exist! Therefore putting the team back in Serie B will keep their big mouths shut I assure you that!

Posted by Angelo | Report as abusive
 

I cannot believe Juventus are appealing against the one-game stadium ban.

What kind of message does that send?

After everything that has happened to that club in the past few years they still don’t seem to care about their image in the rest of the world.

Posted by Simon | Report as abusive
 

Sono dei Gobbi..cosa ci volete fare.

 

ANyone that even tries to rationalize this action by Juve’s disgraceful fans is just as stupid& ignorant. I don’t care how controversial he is, NO ONE should ever be the victim of those kind of Racist chants. I stopped watching Serie A in 2001 & even turned down a free vacation to Rome because of the lever of racial intolerance there. Teams like Roma & lazio are world reknown for their disgraceful fans and its time UEFA did something besides pretending to care.

Posted by mica | Report as abusive
 

I was born and raised in Italy just like Balotelli but my parents are from Ghana and I don’t hide that. I love Italy and miss it. But I think Balotelli should seriously think about his future because its true, there is no such as a “Black Italian” but I also think because of him things in Italy can change. I also believe if Balotelli wants to play in the World cup he should accept the offer from Ghana because he is surely not going to play for Italy. Italy is not ready to let a black person represent them it will take more time for stuff to change! But anyway Good luck Mario!

Posted by EMMANUEL YEBOAH | Report as abusive
 

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