WARSAW: UEFA is investigating allegations of racist chanting directed at Mario Balotelli during Sunday’s Euro 2012 draw between Italy and Spain in Gdansk.
Fans’ Embassy of Football Supporters Europe (FSE) have detailed the abuse Balotelli received from Spain supporters and UEFA has decided to add this claim to an inquiry into incidents during Russia’s victory over the Czech Republic last Friday.
A statement said: “Following the provision of new independent information today, regarding the two cases of alleged racist chanting in the Spain-Italy and Russia-Czech Republic matches, UEFA is now conducting further investigations. There are, however, no disciplinary proceedings opened at this moment in time.”
After pre-tournament concerns, the first complaint about racist taunting was made by Holland captain Marc Van Bommel after a training session in Krakow. Trouble at Russia’s encounter with the Czech Republic followed before the alleged taunts at Balotelli, who had previously claimed he would walk off the pitch if he heard anything to that effect.
On Monday, Italy manager Cesare Prandelli rejected claims that Balotelli had been abused and the Italian federation said that Balotelli had not complained of a problem during or after Sunday’s game
However Thomas Herzog, member of the FSE Fans Embassy team for Spanish supporters, said: “We were present during the match inside the football stadium and stayed inside the stand of the Spanish supporters over the entire course of the match. At some point during the match then, about 200 supporters started monkey chants when the Italian player Mario Balotelli touched the ball.”
Separately, Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola has criticised UEFA president Michel Platini for being weak on racism. Platini had said that any player who walked off the pitch in protest without the referee’s permision would be shown a yellow card, as per the current regulatory interpretation associated with the laws of the game.
Raiola was reported as saying: “I was very disappointed with what Michel Platini said and a lot of people are with me on that. I can’t say I’m surprised by the reaction, though. I don’t believe Platini has done anything to improve the game or help the position of players — as his reaction to Mario shows.”
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