Balotelli threatens to walk off after racial abuse from fans


Players and match officials persuaded Mario Balotelli to remain on the pitch following racist abuse from the stands

Mario Balotelli kicked the ball into the crowd and threatened to walk off the pitch following racial abuse during Brescia’s defeat by Hellas Verona.

Referee Maurizio Mariani suspended play and initiated the anti-racism protocol after Italy striker Balotelli, 29, picked up the ball in the 54th-minute.

Brescia team-mates and the officials persuaded the ex-Manchester City and Liverpool player to stay on the field.

An announcement warned fans that more abuse would see the game abandoned.

Balotelli played the full match and scored a sublime goal in the 85th-minute – though his side were unable to find a late equaliser.

Balotelli previously said he would walk off the pitch if he was again subjected to racial abuse after he and AC Milan team-mates were targeted in a Serie A match against Roma in 2013.

In March 2018, the then-Nice forward had a booking for complaining about alleged racist chants by Dijon fans rescinded.

On Saturday, another Serie A match between Roma and Napoli was temporarily paused due to chants aimed at Napoli supporters.

Anti-discriminatory body Fare claimed earlier this season that Italian football’s disciplinary systems to combat racism are “not fit for purpose”.

That came after Cagliari were cleared of racist chanting towards Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku, with a judging panel determining there was not enough evidence for sanctions.


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