The head of Verona’s ultras, Luca Castinelli, has been given a ten-year stadium ban by the club after racist comments aimed at Brescia star Mario Balotelli.
The former Liverpool and Manchester City striker was subjected to monkey chants during a match between the two clubs, and nearly stormed off the pitch in protest.
Balotelli stayed on, however, and scored a sublime goal for Brescia, though of course the match was marred by events in the stands.
According to the Guardian, Castinelli has now been banned from attending Verona games until June 2030 after defending some fans’ chants against Balotelli.
“Balotelli is Italian because he has Italian citizenship, but he can never be completely Italian,” Castellini said in an interview with Radio Cafe.
“The chants came from only four people, who were only heard by the people who recorded the video. Balotelli only heard it in his own head.
“We also have a negro in our team who scored yesterday, and all of the Verona fans applauded him.”
Balotelli was born in Palermo in Italy and has represented the Italian national team 36 times, so there is clearly no grounds for arguing he is not Italian, with the ultras chief clearly using his skin colour as an excuse.
His casual description of a Verona player as ‘a negro’ is also unacceptable language and it’s good to see he’s been issued with a strong punishment.