Italian Serie A
Hellas VeronaHellas Verona2BresciaBrescia1

Hellas Verona 2-1 Brescia: Mario Balotelli threatens to walk off pitch after racist abuse from fans

Mario Balotelli
Players and match officials persuaded Mario Balotelli to remain on the pitch following racist abuse from the stands

Mario Balotelli kicked the ball into the crowd and threatened to walk off the pitch following racist abuse during Brescia's defeat by Hellas Verona.

Play was suspended after Italy striker Balotelli, 29, picked up the ball in the 54th minute.

Brescia team-mates and the officials persuaded him to stay on the field.

Balotelli wrote on Instagram: "The 'people' of this curva who made the monkey chants. Shame on you, shame on you, shame on you."

The former Manchester City and Liverpool striker included a video of some supporters making the chants in his Instagram Stories.

He added: "In front of your children, wives, relatives, parents, friends and acquaintances... shame.

"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.

"Thank you very much. You have proven to be true men not like those who deny the evidence. #notoracism."

After Balotelli had been persuaded to stay on the pitch, referee Maurizio Mariani initiated the anti-racism protocol.

An announcement warned fans that further abuse would lead to the game being abandoned.

Balotelli played the full match and scored a sublime goal in the 85th minute, though his side were unable to find a late equaliser.

It was the second time such a protocol has been followed in Serie A this weekend after the game between Roma and Napoli was briefly halted when territorial chants were directed at the Napoli supporters.

Verona boss Ivan Juric insisted after the game though there was no racist abuse.

He said: "I'm not afraid to say today there was nothing. Lots of whistling and teasing against a great player, but there was nothing else.

"I have also taken so many insults over the years, I know what it means - but today there has been nothing.

"On the reason of the reaction you have to ask him. When there is racism, I will have no problem saying so because it sucks, even if it comes from my fans.

"But today I heard nothing. We don't create a case where there isn't, it would be a lie."

Brescia later issued a statement criticising Verona's senior managerial representatives for "an attempt to deny or minimise the gravity of the incident".

"This afternoon it happened to one of our players, but it could have happened to anyone else, of any team and the sentence should be as equally firm and determined," the club statement said. "Football is for everyone and everyone deserves the same respect."

Piara Powar, the executive director of the Fare network, which combats racism and discrimination in football across Europe, praised Balotelli for his actions.

He said: "Mario Balotelli has taken a stand against racism and we applaud him for it.

"But the question many people are asking is why other players on the pitch, his team-mates and players from Verona, thought it more appropriate to tell him to stay and suffer instead of joining him in solidarity?

"There is so much to do in Italy, so much education, so much regulatory work, the situation is out of control.

"We will add it to the list of incidents in Italy and present it to the authorities, but there seems little prospect of effective action being taken. It is a depressing picture."

Balotelli previously said he would walk off the pitch if he was again subjected to racial abuse after he and AC Milan team-mates were targeted in a Serie A match against Roma in 2013.

In March 2018, the then-Nice forward had a booking for complaining about alleged racist chants by Dijon fans rescinded.

On Saturday, another Serie A match between Roma and Napoli was temporarily paused due to chants aimed at Napoli supporters.

Fare claimed earlier this season that Italian football's disciplinary systems to combat racism are "not fit for purpose".

That came after Cagliari were cleared of racist chanting towards Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku, with a judging panel determining there was not enough evidence for sanctions.


Hellas Verona

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Silvestri
  • 13Rrahmani
  • 24KumbullaSubstituted forDawidowiczat 16'minutes
  • 33EmpereurBooked at 19mins
  • 5Faraoni
  • 34S Amrabat
  • 4Pinto VelosoSubstituted forPessinaat 54'minutes
  • 88Lazovic
  • 20Zaccagni
  • 14Verre
  • 29Salcedo MoraSubstituted forStepinskiat 73'minutes


  • 3Vitale
  • 8Henderson
  • 9Stepinski
  • 11Pazzini
  • 22Berardi
  • 25Danzi
  • 27Dawidowicz
  • 30de Oliveira Andrade
  • 32Pessina
  • 66Tutino
  • 96Radunovic
  • 98Adjapong


Formation 3-1-4-2

  • 1Joronen
  • 3MatejuBooked at 36mins
  • 15Cistana
  • 19MangravitiBooked at 9minsSubstituted forNdojat 45'minutes
  • 4TonaliBooked at 90mins
  • 2Sabelli
  • 25Bisoli
  • 28Orestes Caldeira
  • 26MartellaBooked at 5minsSubstituted forCurcioat 86'minutes
  • 45Balotelli
  • 9DonnarummaSubstituted forMatriat 71'minutesBooked at 90mins


  • 5Gastaldello
  • 6Ndoj
  • 7Spalek
  • 8Zmrhal
  • 16Curcio
  • 18Aye
  • 21Matri
  • 22Alfonso
Maurizio Mariani

Match Stats

Home TeamHellas VeronaAway TeamBrescia
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Verona 2, Brescia 1.

  2. Dismissal

    Alessandro Matri (Brescia) is shown the red card.

  3. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Verona 2, Brescia 1.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Sofyan Amrabat (Verona).

  5. Post update

    Dimitri Bisoli (Brescia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Booking

    Sandro Tonali (Brescia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Mattia Zaccagni (Verona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Sandro Tonali (Brescia).

  9. Post update

    Foul by Marco Faraoni (Verona).

  10. Post update

    Emanuele Ndoj (Brescia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Darko Lazovic (Verona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Stefano Sabelli (Brescia).

  13. Post update

    Mariusz Stepinski (Verona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Emanuele Ndoj (Brescia).

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Brescia. Felipe Curcio replaces Bruno Martella.

  16. Goal!

    Goal! Verona 2, Brescia 1. Mario Balotelli (Brescia) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Rômulo.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Mariusz Stepinski (Verona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marco Faraoni.

  18. Goal!

    Goal! Verona 2, Brescia 0. Matteo Pessina (Verona) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mattia Zaccagni.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Mario Balotelli (Brescia) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Dimitri Bisoli with a cross.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Mariusz Stepinski (Verona).

As It Stood

2Inter Milan1191124111328
9Hellas Verona1143499015
11AC Milan114161115-413
View full Italian Serie A table

Top Stories