Mario Balotelli: Hellas Verona punished with partial stadium closure for one game

Mario Balotelli
Balotelli had to persuaded not to walk off the pitch during the game at Verona

Italian club Hellas Verona have been ordered to close part of their stadium for one game following the racist abuse of Mario Balotelli.

Brescia striker Balotelli kicked the ball into the crowd and threatened to walk off the pitch after being abused during Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Verona.

On Tuesday, Serie A's disciplinary commission ordered the closure of the Poltrone Est stand as punishment.

That came after Verona banned the head of their ultras fan group for 11 years.

Luca Castellini had said ex-Manchester City and Liverpool striker Balotelli, 29, can "never be completely Italian".

Verona said Castellini's comments were "seriously" against the "ethical principles and values ​​of our club".

On Monday, Italy international Balotelli responded to Castellini by saying his comments had "nothing to do with football".

"You are getting into social and historical situations that are bigger than you, you small-minded people," he said.

Balotelli, who has played 36 times for Italy and helped them reach the final of the 2012 European Championships, added: "Wake up you imbeciles, you are shambolic.

"When Mario scored a goal for Italy, and - I guarantee you - I will do so again, you are fine with that, aren't you?"

'We will not give up'

At a meeting of the Italian FA (FIGC) on Tuesday, its president Gabriele Gravina called for increased use of technology to identify culprits.

"Balotelli is Italian, he proved to be more Italian than those who offended him," he said.

"The FIGC will not give up until we put an end to these deplorable episodes. We must respond with advanced technological systems, which remove all alibis. Hence the need for an ever closer collaboration between our Public Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of the Interior for the identification of the subjects. In this the FIGC claims a central role."

Meanwhile, a motion was put forward to the Verona city council by councillor Andrea Bacciga calling for any players who "defame" the city to "face justice".

He claimed "no-one" at the stadium on Sunday heard the racist abuse aimed at Balotelli.

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