Football: Verona ban fan leader over racist comments


Italian football club Hellas Verona on Tuesday announced they have banned the head of their fan group for 11 years after the racist abuse of Brescia forward Mario Balotelli.

In an interview following the Serie A match between Verona and Brescia, Luca Castellini, the head of “ultras” supporters group, said that “Balotelli is Italian because he has Italian citizenship but he won’t be completely Italian.”

On Sunday, Verona defeated Brescia 2-1 in Italy Serie A match, Balotelli scored for Brescia in the 85th minute and after this goal he was racially abused with monkey chants by the Verona fans.

Verona Hellas has also been handed a one-match partial stadium closure as punishment by The Lega Serie A’s disciplinary commission on Tuesday.

Italian striker Balotelli thanked his teammates for expressing solidarity with him.

“Thanks to all the colleagues on the field and off for the solidarity I had with me, and all the messages received from you fans,” Mario Balotelli wrote on Instagram.

Born in Italy to Ghanaian parents, the 29-year-old forward made 36 appearances for the Italy and scored 14 goals for his country. He also helped Italian club Inter Milan to clinch UEFA Champions League trophy in 2010.
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