How far should intimidating chants go?

November 24, 2009

Juventus have been fined 20,000 euros rather than receive a stadium ban for an offensive chant their fans sing about Inter Milan’s black striker Mario Balotelli.

As songs go, it is pretty insulting. “Se saltelli, muore Balotelli” (If you jump up and down, Balotelli will die).

However, the big question is whether the song is racist. The Italian league has decided it is offensive and incites violence but has not classified it as racist, hence the fine and no heftier punishment. Many Italians disagree and say the Juve fans would not sing such a song if he was white.

Of course last season Juve were forced to play a game behind close doors after home fans sang “a black Italian does not exist” at Palermo-born Balotelli in a game with champions Inter.

Most Premier League fans will know of an especially nasty chant aimed at Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger while there are several English songs about getting a gun to “shoot some (most hated rival club) scum”.

In England, fans largely get away with these sorts of chants. But should they go unpunished given there are children in the stadiums? It hardly helps build the fabric of society. Then again, if attempts were made to ban all such chants, would some of the wonderful match-day banter we all enjoy get lost?

The new Juve chant is probably a bit more insulting than the usual taunts and it is towards an individual rather than a club.

Balotelli, 19, has annoyed rival fans and even his own coach Jose Mourinho with his “me against the world” attitude this term, but no one deserves such abuse.

PHOTO: Inter Milan’s Mario Balotelli eyes the ball during their Italian Serie A soccer match against Catania at the San Siro stadium in Milan October 24, 2009. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo


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Of course, racist chants should never be sung, but having followed Balotelli ever since his debut for Inter Milan, he does not do himself any favours. Balotelli is a nasty player, he trips players, tackles roughly, dives, argues with everyone, and provokes the crowd. I feel that he has great talent, but he is putting it to waste with his actions.

Posted by Soccer Wrap Up | Report as abusive

That’s an interesting topic and I am for one happy it is being tackled and brought into the open. There is a difference between English fans chanting at the German fan “Two World Wars and one World Cup” and Juventus Ultras giving Nazi salutes. Forget about racism for a second, this goes into the whole notion of good sportsmanship that is set by no other but the players themselves. When Totti spat at a Norwegian defender in the World Cup (small even nobody even noticed until the replay), he was dead to me. What I am driving at if Balotelli ever decides to behave himself with dignity and humility like Alessandro Del Piero, he would be an inspiration for the kids and a huge deterrent to the Extreme fans.

Posted by Juvefan | Report as abusive

There is no excuse for racism on the football stands and terraces.It isn’t ‘Good Natured Banter’, there nothing good natured about it regardless of what a player is or isn’t doing on the field.Football authorities need to get tough. It makes me wonder what will happen in World Cup South Africa 2010. I doubt these morons will be so vocal there. Where they will clearly be in the minority.

Posted by John J | Report as abusive

Bad chanting & racism has no part in life let alone sport! No excuse at all! 009/07/racism-and-sport.html

Posted by jonny on the ball | Report as abusive