Italian racism: Hellas Verona’s ultras leader banned for nationality jibe at Balotelli

November 6 – The head of Hellas Verona’s ultras group has been banned by the club for 11 years relating to the racist abuse aimed at Bescia striker Mario Balotelli last weekend.

Balotelli kicked the ball into the crowd and threatened to walk off the pitch early in the second half of Verona’s 2-1 league win after he heard fans making monkey noises.

In an interview following the match,  Luca Castellini claimed Balotelli, born in Sicily to Ghanaian parents, “could never be completely Italian”.

Verona have now banned Castellini until 30 June 2030 while the club has been handed a one-match partial stadium closure by Italian football authorities .

In the immediate aftermath of the game, Verona’s head coach Ivan Juric said there was no racist element to any abuse directed towards Balotelli – a stance which was also taken by the club’s president Maurizio Setti.

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