Balotelli Booked For Complaining About Racism
OGC Nice's Mario Balotelli Booked For Complaining About Racism
Liverpool flop Mario Balotelli, who has somewhat revived his career in France, was involved in a shocking incident on Saturday, when a referee booked him for complaining about alleged racism.
The Italian was shown a yellow card in OGC Nice's clash away at Dijon after it was claimed he tried to alert referee Nicolas Rainville of alleged racist chants from the home supporters.
However, the former Liverpool and Manchester City striker has now received the backing of anti-discrimination body Kick It Out.
"Kick It Out was shocked to see Mario Balotelli booked for bringing to the attention of the referee alleged racist chanting directed towards him by Dijon supporters," the organisation said in a statement, as quoted by Sky Sports.
"It is unacceptable and wrong to see that, once again, a match official has failed to apply the UEFA protocol – in place for a number of years – which requires action to be taken to stop the game to deal with the offending abuse.
"Although Kick It Out's remit is within English football, the organisation has contacted anti-discrimination network Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) to see what actions they will be taking in raising this with Ligue 1 officials.
"The organisation expects a strong response from the French football authorities in condemning both the alleged racist chanting from Dijon supporters and the failure of the referee to follow protocol to halt the behaviour, as well as the decision to compound Balotelli's experience as a victim by booking him for merely asking the match official to do his job."
This was not the first time Balotelli, who was born in Italy to Ghanaian parents, was a victim of racism, having previously experienced similar incidents when playing for AC Milan and Inter Milan in Italy.
On the pitch, Balotelli is experiencing another good season, scoring 19 goals in 26 appearances for Nice so far, with reports suggesting that Italy's interim coach, Luigi Di Biagio, could recall him to the national team for their upcoming friendlies.
What do you make of the referee's decision to book Balotelli instead of act on the alleged racist chants? Have your say in the comments section below.