SILVIO Berlusconi and his brother, Paolo, are in hot water over maverick Italian striker Mario Balotelli, with one accused of racism and the other of signing him for his club, AC Milan, only to win votes in this month's national election.
Paolo Berlusconi, AC Milan's vice-president, was lambasted in social media after calling former Manchester City forward Balotelli "the little black boy of the family".
A video of his comments was going viral after it was posted on various websites. "And now let's go and watch the little black boy of the family, the crazy head," he says in the film.
A spokesman for the Serie A club said there would be no comment on the video, which was recorded on the day Balotelli made his debut for AC Milan after being transferred from City last month.
Criticism took off after foreign media began writing about the video, which had received relatively little attention in the Italian press.
"Balotelli is back for two minutes and already had racist comments made about him. Why do black players even play in Italy?" one person tweeted.
Balotelli, playing three days after leaving City, scored both goals in Milan's 2-1 home victory over Udinese on Sunday.
While Paolo was taking the heat for his comments, Silvio was still under fire over his motivation for bringing the hot-tempered Balotelli back to Italy in the first place, having previously said Milan did not need a "rotten apple".
Former prime minister Silvio has been the butt of jokes by comedians and attacks by his political rivals over the transfer, which they see as a clear attempt to woo Italian soccer fans to vote for his centre-right coalition.