Italian police have handed a 38-year-old man a five-year football banning order for racially abusing Brescia striker Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli kicked the ball into the crowd in frustration during his side’s defeat to Hellas Verona and threatened to walk off the pitch as a result of the abuse in early November.
Sky Sports report that the man was identified by the Verona police and has been handed a European Daspo, which is a banning order spanning all the way across Europe rather than just Italy.
The ban will prevent him from attending any sporting events in Italy and within the EU until 2025 and furthermore he will not be allowed to attend certain areas and pubs within Verona where fans may gather on matchdays.
The man was reportedly identified via the use of CCTV footage and the eyewitness accounts of fans within the vicinity. As a result of the abuse, Hellas Verona were punished with a partial stadium ban which was then suspended following a successful appeal from the Serie A side.
Sadly, this is not the only time Balotelli has been the target of racist abuse as Italian giants Lazio have been handed a €20,000 fine following chants when the sides met on Sunday. The game was temporarily suspended and a stadium announced put out.
Racism is a huge problem in Italian and indeed European football, and it is featuring frequently in the reporting of Calcio. An anti-racism campaign designed by Serie A was heavily criticised after it depicted the faces of three monkeys painted in different colours. Both AC Milan and Roma condemned the posters immediately.
Italian newspaper Corriere Dello Sport was banned by AS Roma and AC Milan from attending the clubs’ facilities and interacting with the players after they published the headline ‘Black Friday’ alongside a picture of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling before Inter played Roma.
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