Shame on Serie A: Lazio get off lightly for fans’ racist abuse of Balotelli

January 9 – Lazio have been fined a token €20,000 for their fans’ racial abuse of Mario Balotelli during last weekend’s Serie A fixture at Brescia, avoiding a stadium closure.

Serie A’s disciplinary tribunal said in a statement that further investigations were taking place to identify exactly where among the 1,500 visiting Lazio fans the monkey chanting came from. Lazio won 2-1 after Balotelli, who has been subjected to discrimination throughout his career, had opened the scoring.

The Serie A statement said that fans “sang a chorus of racial discrimination against a player of the opposing team in the 21st and 29th minutes of the first half” as well as other insults.

It said the referee interrupted the match after half an hour and an announcement was made asking for the chanting to stop.

Balotelli  posted “shame on you” in an Instagram message to the Lazio fans after the game. Lazio, predictably, disassociated themselves from the incident.

This is not the first time this season that the former Manchester City striker has been subject to appalling discrimination. Back in November he threatened to walk off the field over chants directed at him by Hellas Verona fans.

Romelu Lukaku, Franck Kessie, Dalbert Henrique, Miralem Pjanic, Ronaldo Vieira and Kalidou Koulibaly have also been subjected to offensive chanting in Italy this season with no sign of an end to the scourge of racist abuse despite a collective pledge by the 20 top-flight clubs to stamp it out.

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