Balotelli accuses Lazio fans of racism during Serie A game

By Sports Desk January 05, 2020

Mario Balotelli has accused Lazio fans of racially abusing him during their club's win over Brescia in Serie A on Sunday.

Balotelli opened the scoring for Brescia but Ciro Immobile struck twice after Andrea Cistana's red card to turn it around for the visitors.

During the game, a warning was read out over the stadium's public address system after chants appeared to be aimed at Balotelli.

The Italy striker used social media after the match to hit out at Lazio supporters.

"[It] is a loss that hurt but we will come back stronger and we are on the right way!" He posted on Instagram with a clip of his goal.

"Lazio fans that were today at the stadium SHAME ON YOU! #saynotoracism."

It is not the first time former Milan and Manchester City striker Balotelli has been the target of abuse since he signed for hometown club Brescia at the start of this season.

Last November, Balotelli kicked a ball into the stands and threatened to walk off the pitch after being subjected to monkey noises during a Serie A match against Hellas Verona.

In the same month, there was a controversy involving Brescia president Massimo Cellino, who said Balotelli is "black and is working on lightening up, but he is facing troubles".

The word 'nero' in Italian means 'black' but can also be used for 'gloomy'. Brescia defended Cellino's comments as "a paradoxical joke, clearly misunderstood, released in an attempt to defuse excessive media exposure and with intent to protect the player himself".

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Bundesliga aiming for early May restart behind closed doors Coronavirus: Bundesliga aiming for early May restart behind closed doors

    The Bundesliga is aiming to resume in early May with games behind closed doors, German Football League (DFL) chief executive Christian Seifert has revealed.

    Germany's top two divisions have been suspended until April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    According to the John Hopkins University, the country has had over 110,000 cases of COVID-19 infection – the fourth most in Europe – with more than 2,100 deaths.

    Seifert confirmed to the New York Times plans are being put in place for the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga to restart with spectator-free matches next month.

    "We are part of the culture in the country, people long to get back a short piece of normal life, and that could mean the Bundesliga plays again," Seifert said.

    "This is why we have to play our role here, and that means to support the government and to talk with the government about when we will be able to play again.

    "The sooner we are finished, the more flexibility we can provide to the European football landscape."

    Seifert also suggested that cancelling the season could put five Bundesliga clubs in serious financial trouble, while half the teams in the second tier would be "very much in danger to file for bankruptcy".

    Bayern Munich chief executive Herbert Hainer said he expects the pandemic to lead to a significant reduction in transfer fees. Seifert believes a full collapse is on the cards.

    "In the short term, I would say the transfer market this summer will not exist, it will collapse," he said.

    "Some agents will suddenly understand that they will have to work hard, or at least work; some leagues will understand that money is nothing that is coming automatically every month from heaven."

  • Coronavirus: Premier League stars announce #PlayersTogether charity fund Coronavirus: Premier League stars announce #PlayersTogether charity fund

    Premier League stars have announced the creation of a charity fund to help health services in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Players including Liverpool and Manchester United captains Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire confirmed the plans in a social media statement on Tuesday.

    The announcement comes after UK health secretary Matt Hancock had urged the highest-paid footballers in the country to "play their part" in helping key services during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Those comments attracted criticism from some in the sport, including United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who said it was unfair to paint players as an easy target while discussions about contributions to health services and charities were ongoing.

    The statement said: "Over the course of the last week we, as a group of Premier League players, have held numerous talks together with the vision of creating a contribution fund that can be used to distribute money to where it's needed most in this COVID-19 crisis; helping those fighting for us on the NHS frontline as well as other key areas of need. This is a critical time for our country and for our NHS, and we are determined to help in any way that we can.

    "We can confirm that after extensive conversations between a huge number of players from all Premier League clubs we have created our own collective player initiative, #PlayersTogether, and have partnered with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) in order to assist them in generating and distributing funds quickly and efficiently to where they are needed most.

    "NHSCT is the national umbrella organisation for over 150 registered charities, working closely with the Charity Commission, Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England to represent, champion, and support the NHS' official charities. NHSCT are the official charity partner of the NHS nationally.

    "The contributions that this initiative will generate will help NHSCT quickly grant funds to the front line to support in a number of ways, including to help enhance the well-being of NHS staff, volunteers and patients impacted by COVID-19 as well as helping them in their work supporting many other critical areas of need both now and in the longer term.

    "#PlayersTogether is about we, as players, collaborating together to create a voluntary initiative, separate to any other club and league conversations, that can help get much needed funds to those that need it right now. To try and help, along with so many others in the country, make a real difference.

    "Our prayers and thoughts go out to everybody affected by this crisis. By sticking together, we will get through this."

  • COVID-19, racism, proves the importance of sport COVID-19, racism, proves the importance of sport

    I’ve complained bitterly about the need for sports administrators to stop trying to get sports re-started as quickly as possible for fear that any such act, done too quickly, will lend itself to endangering the athletes and those they love.

    I thought that administrators had been looking at it all wrong. In delaying decisions to postpone or cancel an event, they have forced athletes to continue training for that event. The fact that they must continue to train puts the athlete at risk of contracting COVID-19.

    That line of argument went out the window when two French scientists promoted the idea that the testing ground for a new Coronavirus vaccine be Africa.

    I was incensed.

    But after the initial annoyance had worn off, I made a link between the restart of sport and the continued smashing of long-held, dangerous, perceptions.

    Sport has been one of the foremost grounds for tackling injustice and inequality that this world has seen.

    It is most often in the sporting arena where your background, your history, your political ideologies, count for the least.

    Over many decades, sport has systematically attempted to become a place where the idea of a meritocracy is most real.

    It isn’t real in life because the power has always been in the hands of a very few and they wield it with unerring indifference to anything that does not serve their purpose.

    Over time, the athlete has come to the bargaining table by making it clear that without him or her, there is nothing. No fans, no money, nothing.

    The latest arena where this battle has been fought is in that of gender equality, where women have stood up to say “hang on a minute, why am I not paid like the men, why is my contribution paid scant regard?”

    And they have a point.

    But even if they didn’t, the fact that without them, the entire thing collapses, means they have to be heard.

    The same thing rings true of attempts to stamp racism from sport. The athlete, of whatever race, has wielded his power to say, “we will not play under unequal circumstances. We will not play when there is prejudice, in whatever form.”

    Those realisations have led me to reconsider the idea that sports administrators shouldn’t be trying to restart sports as quickly as they are.

    They should.

    Sport is more than just a test of physical and mental superiority over an opponent. It is a litmus test for society. It shows society the direction it should be going in and to boot, it has the kind of unifying impact, seldom seen by any other endeavour.

    For that reason, let’s get our ‘heroes’, for that is what the modern-day sportsperson has become, stand on the frontlines of a return to normalcy in the face of arguably, the most debilitating challenge faced by mankind in the 21st century.

    Now the sportsperson must stand in the face of COVID-19 and say, “you have changed our world, but we’ll be damned if you stop us from trying to make it a better place.”

    I remember reading or watching, I can’t remember which, ‘Fire in Babylon’, a depiction on the rise of West Indies cricket in the 1980s. More important to me than the details of how they did it and the massiveness of the achievement, relative to every sporting achievement ever had by a team, was the reason they did it.

    The West Indians at the time wanted to show a couple of things. They wanted to prove they were every bit as good as their counterparts the world over, and they wanted to show the Caribbean how powerful it could be if they were unified. 

    Those reasons made their achievements over the course of a decade and a bit, much bigger than sport.

    Jackie Robinson becoming the first black Major League player was more than sport. His achievements in Major League Baseball had very little to do with the league or the sport, it was about destroying negative perceptions about the black man.

    And so, I hope sport restarts quickly and tells these scientists willing to use a particular set of people as guinea pigs, where to shove it.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.