Wednesday 16 October 2019

Balotelli warned he'll be sent-off for protesting against racist chanting

AC Milan's Mario Balotelli. Picture: Reuters/Alessandro Garofalo.
AC Milan's Mario Balotelli. Picture: Reuters/Alessandro Garofalo.

Terry Daley

Italian Referee's Association (AIA) president Marcello Nicchi has said that Mario Balotelli will be sent off if he were to leave the field to protest racist chanting.

"Everyone is free to express their own opinions but there are rules. Whoever leaves the field to make a protest, without warning the referee or without being substituted will be sent off," Nicchi told Italian news channel SkyTG24 on Friday.

"Less importance has to be given to this phenomenon as a media event and more importance from what can be done realistically, be tough and uncompromising with the idiots who sing these shameful chants."

Earlier this week, Balotelli said he would leave the field if he was racially abused by fans again, after being repeatedly being targeted by opposition fans in Italy.

"If it happens one more time, I'm going to leave the pitch,because it's so stupid," he said.

AS Roma supporters were the latest to shout monkey chants at him during their goalless draw with AC Milan on Sunday, which was suspended for two minutes by referee Gianluca Rocchi while players and the stadium announcers tried to halt the abuse.

"I was about to leave the pitch on Sunday but they are going to think that I wanted to leave because maybe we had some difficulty with the game," the Italy striker added.

"I said it's better we play and then we talk, but if it wasn't for this reason I was going to leave the pitch."

Meanwhile, Balotelli has insisted he is happy to have put his time in England behind him.

The Italian striker created numerous headlines during his tempestuous two-and-a-half years at Manchester City but claims he was given a raw deal.

Balotelli, who is now at AC Milan, says that his love of women and fast cars is just "normal".

He told CNN: "I'm really happy now. I have my family near me and my friends. I can relax and find my privacy, more than in England, where I was alone."

He added that many of the stories in the media bore little relation to to the truth and he also defended his lifestyle.

Balotelli said: "Women I think is normal. Cars? I like fast cars and I don't see the problem if I like fast cars.

"Some things have happened in my life, some stuff unfortunately happens and they went in the newspapers straight away. But I don't see anything that would make people think that I'm bad or I'm crazy. I'm a normal guy.

"When you create an icon of a person in that kind of way, after everyone thinks you are like this and if you lie about it, everyone just thinks that it is all true. So maybe that's why they think I'm crazy and do crazy things.

"But I'm not here to talk about if I'm unfairly treated. I don't care. I'm out from England, I'm happy that I'm out from England. That's it."

Reuters

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