Mario Balotelli racially abused at football match

Ligue 1 to investigate after Italian striker Mario Balotelli accuses Bastia fans of making monkey noises as he played.

    Balotelli, born to Ghanian immigrants to Italy, has played for OGC Nice since August 2016 [Reuters]
    Balotelli, born to Ghanian immigrants to Italy, has played for OGC Nice since August 2016 [Reuters]

    Football fans at a match in Corsica, France, made monkey noises as Italian striker Mario Balotelli played on the field, according to the footballer, who is black.

    Balotelli on Saturday posted to Instagram an account of the racist taunting, as he decried the lack of direct action from official bodies.

    Born to Ghanaian immigrants to Italy, OGC Nice player Balotelli said: "Is it normal that Bastia [football team] supporters make monkey noise [and]  'uh' 'uh' for the whole game and no one of the  'commissions discipline' say nothing?"

    Addressing Bastia fans, he said: "So is racism legal in France? Or only in Bastia? Football is an amazing sport. Those people like Bastia supporters make it horrible!"

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    The post, which received more than 35,000 likes, ended with Balotelli describing in French the incident as a total disgrace.

    OGC Nice retweeted Balotelli's account on its Twitter page in a post that was shared more than 7,500 times.

    "Nice, which already had stones thrown at its bus before the game, is outraged by what happened to its players on Friday night, and in particular to Mario Balotelli," the club said in a statement.

    Disciplinary committee to investigate

    Later on Saturday, France's football association said it would investigate the incident.

    Ligue 1 said in a statement that it "deplored all of the incidents" that took place during Friday's match, where the teams drew 1-1.

    The association said that its disciplinary committee, mentioned in Balotelli's post, will start the investigation after it gathers information from both football clubs on the matter.

    The disciplinary committee is scheduled to convene on Thursday.

    The incident reportedly took place at the Armand Cesari stadium in Corsica.

    Commentators from local broadcasters who were covering the match made no reference to the racial abuse.

    Bastia has not yet responded to Balotelli's claim.

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    The incident was not Balotelli's first experience battling against racist fans. The player was subject to racial abuse by Roma fans when he played with AC Milan in 2013.

    Ligue 1 had deducted two points from Bastia in the 2007-2008 season following a similar incident where fans reportedly racially abused Boubacar Kebe, a player from Burkina Faso.

    Balotelli, 26, joined OGC Nice from Liverpool in August, and has helped the club improve overall league results after scoring eight league goals in 10 matches.

    OGC Nice is currently top of the Ligue 1, with 46 points from a total of 21 games, while Corsica's Bastia are in 15th place, with 21 points in comparison.

    SOURCE: News agencies


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