Italian Serie A
Hellas Verona2Brescia1

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.

Line-ups

Hellas Verona

  • 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

Substitutes

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

Brescia

  • 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

Substitutes

  • 5Gastaldello
  • 6Ndoj
  • 7Spalek
  • 8Zmrhal
  • 16Curcio
  • 18Aye
  • 21Matri
  • 22Alfonso
Referee:
Maurizio Mariani
Attendance:
16,525

Match Stats

Home TeamHellas VeronaAway TeamBrescia
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home11
Away16
Shots on Target
Home3
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away1
Fouls
Home19
Away15

Live Text

Match ends, Verona 2, Brescia 1.

Dismissal

Alessandro Matri (Brescia) is shown the red card.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Verona 2, Brescia 1.

Foul by Sofyan Amrabat (Verona).

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

Booking

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

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

Foul by Sandro Tonali (Brescia).

Foul by Marco Faraoni (Verona).

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

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

Foul by Stefano Sabelli (Brescia).

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

Foul by Emanuele Ndoj (Brescia).

Substitution

Substitution, Brescia. Felipe Curcio replaces Bruno Martella.

Goal!

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

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

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.

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.

Foul by Mariusz Stepinski (Verona).

Ales Mateju (Brescia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Amir Rrahmani (Verona) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Valerio Verre following a set piece situation.

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

Foul by Sandro Tonali (Brescia).

Attempt missed. Rômulo (Brescia) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Dimitri Bisoli.

Attempt missed. Mariusz Stepinski (Verona) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Alan Empereur.

Substitution

Substitution, Verona. Mariusz Stepinski replaces Eddie Salcedo.

Sofyan Amrabat (Verona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Rômulo (Brescia).

Attempt blocked. Mario Balotelli (Brescia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Emanuele Ndoj.

Substitution

Substitution, Brescia. Alessandro Matri replaces Alfredo Donnarumma.

Sofyan Amrabat (Verona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Rômulo (Brescia).

Attempt missed. Valerio Verre (Verona) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Darko Lazovic following a fast break.

Foul by Pawel Dawidowicz (Verona).

Mario Balotelli (Brescia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Mario Balotelli (Brescia) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Alfredo Donnarumma.

Attempt saved. Mario Balotelli (Brescia) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Foul by Valerio Verre (Verona).

Mario Balotelli (Brescia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Juventus119201991029
2Inter Milan1191124111328
3Roma116412012822
4Lazio1163224111321
5Atalanta1163230181221
6Cagliari116321810821
7Napoli115332115618
8Fiorentina114431614216
9Hellas Verona1143499015
10Parma114251615114
11AC Milan114161115-413
12Udinese11416818-1013
13Bologna113351517-212
14Torino113261117-611
15Sassuolo103161820-210
16Lecce112451321-810
17Genoa112271426-128
18Brescia102171016-67
19SPAL10217717-107
20Sampdoria10127619-135
View full Italian Serie A table

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