Hellas Verona given partial stadium ban over Balotelli racist abuse

Date published: Tuesday 5th November 2019 3:52 - Joe Williams

Mario Balotelli Brescia

Hellas Verona have been handed a partial stadium ban after Brescia striker Mario Balotelli was racially abused by their fans on Sunday.

Former Liverpool and Manchester City striker Balotelli, 29, kicked the ball into the crowd and threatened to walk off the pitch during his side’s 2-1 defeat.

The game was halted by the referee while the stadium announcer read a message to the crowd at the Bentegodi Stadium warning that the match would be abandoned if the abuse were to continue.

On Tuesday, Serie A’s disciplinary commission ordered the closure of the Poltrone Est stand, which houses the club’s Ultra fans.

The commission said on their official website: “(The) racist abuse was clearly audible, not just by the player, but also by the representative of the Federation positioned in the vicinity.”

Meanwhile, Verona have handed a 11-year stadium ban to the head of the Verona ultras, Luca Castellini, for comments he made after the match.

Castellini said on Instagram: “Balotelli is Italian because he has Italian citizenship, but he can never be completely Italian.”

Verona said in a statement on their official website: “Hellas Verona FC announces that it has adopted a disqualification measure against Mr Luca Castellini, who expressed opinions that are seriously contrary to those that distinguish the ethical principles and values ??of our club. A suspension has been handed to the subject until June 30, 2030.”

The sanctions followed earlier reports that four Verona city councillors had urged the council to “take legal action against the footballer and all those who attack Verona by unjustly defaming it”.

Verona’s city mayor Federico Sboarina, who said he was at the match, has denied Balotelli was racially abused.

Sboarina told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport: “It is a protection of the image of our city. Why should one consider Verona a racist city? It will take its responsibilities.”

Sboarina said he had watched a video taken from the stand where the racial abuse was alleged to have occured.

“We were stunned,” he said. “The referee warned Balotelli, he did not suspend the game. They only hear whistles, the news does not exist. It has been assembled and built on nothing.”

 

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