Fan handed five-year stadium bans after racist abuse of Balotelli
Italian police have handed a five-year ban from sports events to a supporter who racially abused Mario Balotelli in Brescia’s match at Hellas Verona.
The fan has not been named, with Italian media describing him as a 38-year-old from the city of Agrigento.
Widespread reports in Italy said the police commissioner of Verona, Ivana Petricca, imposed the ban after an investigation into the events of November 3, when Balotelli reported hearing monkey chants.
Italy international Balotelli kicked the ball into the stands and threatened to walk off the pitch in the second half of his side’s 2-1 defeat at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi, where he scored a late consolation goal for his team.
The abuse led to Serie A ordering a one-match partial stadium closure for Hellas Verona, while the club handed their head ultra an 11-year ban for defending the discriminatory chants.
Italian news agency ANSA said video footage and testimonies from those at the game led to the identification of the supporter, whose ban will apply to all sport events in Italy and within the European Union.
The man will be barred from parts of the city of Verona on football match days, ANSA said.
Balotelli was left furious following the attack, particularly because his daughter had been watching the game on television.
“I didn’t accuse Verona, I didn’t accuse the Verona curva, I accused the few idiots who did it. I heard them,” Balotelli told SportMediaset in November.
“It wasn’t two or three, because I heard them from the pitch. If I don’t react, nothing happens. It’s not a mistake, it’s a serious matter.
“I tell the truth, the Verona stadium and the Verona fans are also nice to me, with their banter. But if you want to distract a player, you can do it in a thousand ways. Not like this. This is not good.
“[My daughter hearing the abuse] makes it three times worse. It’s already happened to her. You can’t insult a child with words like that. Education and respect come from us adults.
“I’m not saying that I am different from the other players who have had the same noises and the same howls, but the problem is that I am Italian, and I want to be back in the national team.”