- Mario Balotelli alleged he was racially abused during the Hellas Verona match
- The striker threatened to walk off and was clearly emotional at the incident
- Hellas Verona were hit by a partial stadium ban but some defended their fans
- Now Balotelli’s own supporters have backed Verona fans over what happened
Brescia fans have called Mario Balotelli ‘arrogant’ and backed Hellas Verona supporters
Balotelli accused the Verona fans of racist chanting and was clearly emotional afterwards
The former Liverpool and Manchester City striker almost walked off the pitch on Sunday
Hellas Verona have been given a one-game partial stadium ban in response to the incident
Brescia supporters suggested in a statement: ‘Entire fanbases cannot be considered racist’
Verona ultra Luca Castellini has been banned until June 2030 for his comments on Balotelli
Brescia fans have called Mario Balotelli ‘arrogant’ and backed Hellas Verona supporters amid the racism row between the striker and the Italian side.
The former Manchester City and Liverpool forward threatened to walk off the pitch when Brescia and Hellas Verona met in Serie A last weekend after disgraceful racist chants were aimed at him.
Balotelli also booted a ball into the crowd as he demonstrated his emotions at the incident.
While Balotelli had claimed to have heard monkey chants, Verona’s mayor and club president Ivan Juric denied any abuse occurred.
On the other hand, Verona did ban one of their leading ultras, Luca Castellini, for more than 10 years after he said Balotelli ‘will never be 100 per cent Italian’.
He also argued: ‘We have a n***o in our team and he scored and all of Verona applauded.’
Verona issued a response on the official club website, writing that Castellini’s words were ‘ideas contrary to the ethical principles and values of our club’. He has been banned until June 2030.
But now the fans from 29-year-old Balotelli’s hometown club have backed the racist supporters despite them being given a one-game partial stadium ban.
The statement read: ‘If Balotelli was not ready psychologically to face the Verona fanbase and, above all, such a delicate match in which our city and our coach – among the most beloved figures – was taking his final chance at saving his job, then he should’ve said so and left his place to someone less irritable than him.
‘None of us would’ve been upset if he had, quite the contrary.
‘The personal declarations of one of the leaders of the Verona Curva cannot justify the witch-hunt sparked by the media and institutions in yet another attempt to criminalise and destroy the entire Ultras world.
‘This does not mean that certain chants are legitimate or acceptable, but nor are all Verona fans racists and the Verona Curva some sort of KKK coven.
‘Entire fanbases cannot be considered racist, but racism does exist and it is often used to create mass panic in public opinion.
‘This unconventional language is used more and more by public and political figures, but of course nobody would think of banning them because of some code of ethics.
‘We have absolutely no doubts that Balotelli is to all intents Italian, and even a Bresciano, but the arrogance that he continually gives off is unjustifiable.
‘The notorious ‘Balotellate’ antics are now all too well known.
‘What matters more to us are the spirit of sacrifice, passion respect, motivation and sweating for the shirt, concepts that seem to be entirely unknown to him.
‘We condemn any gesture or provocation that is clearly hostile and discriminatory, but, we also want to give our solidarity to those who once again saw their liberty destroyed.
‘This time it wasn’t even by the authorities, who considered his behaviour not that serious, but by his own club.’
Balotelli explained his reaction recently, saying: ‘I know that we’re not supposed to give these people attention, but we can’t just not underline the seriousness of what they are doing either.
‘If I don’t react, nothing will happen. You can call me an idiot, I don’t mind that, but not if you call me a n***o. That’s not done by mistake. That’s serious.
‘I stopped play because I thought, that’s it, I’d had enough. I say punish those who are guilty and not the whole Curva, because that is the beauty of football. I never accused the whole city of Verona, just those few idiots who were responsible.
‘They were only a few, yes, but they were enough for me to hear them from the pitch, so it can’t have been two or three.’
Verona’s city council have been asked in a motion to take legal action against Balotelli for ‘unjustly defaming’ the city.
The motion added: ‘It is no longer fair that Verona is put in the dock when, as in this case, nothing happened.’
It is not the first time a player’s fans have backed the racists rather than their man — Inter Milan’s ultras had a similar explanation when Romelu Lukaku claimed to be racially abused by Cagliari supporters.
They suggested he should take it as a ‘compliment’ and that it just demonstrated Cagliari fans were scared of him.