Another race row for Italian football: Mario Balotelli 'victim of racial abuse' in Milan derby
Inter Milan could face a fine of at least €15,000 after latest incident of racism in Serie A
Racism has once again stolen centre stage in Italian football, after Inter Milan fans reportedly hurled bigoted abuse at AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli.
The Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Inter fans waved inflatable bananas at their former striker. In the second half, Balotelli pressed his finger to his lips in an apparent bid to silence his detractors.
He was also seen spitting in the direction of his former fans.
The Italian international was facing his former club for the first time since joining their rivals in January. Ezequiel Schelotto's second-half goal levelled for Inter, to earn a 1-1 draw after Stephan El Shaarawy's first half opener.
Serie A bosses will meet tomorrow to discuss potential punishments for Inter following the incident.
If fans are judged to have directed discriminatory or racist language at Balotelli then the club face a fine of at least €15,000 (£12,300). It would be the second such fine for the club this season, after a similar incident against Chievo.
And earlier this month AC Milan vice-president Paolo Berlusconi - the younger brother of club owner Silvio - was filmed at a political meeting calling Balotelli “negretto della famiglia” - translated as “the family's little n****r”.
And a month earlier, the older Berlusconi praised praised midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng for walking off the pitch after he was racially abused during a friendly against Pro Patria.
The furore joins a list of racist incidents sweeping European football, with Bulgarian authorities warning clubs that match delegates will now be able to abandon league games in the event of racist behaviour by fans.
In a statement, the BFU said: "BFU's delegates will order the (stadium) speaker to warn the crowd.
"Cases of racism and discrimination can lead to termination of the game and fines of 37,500 levs (£17,000)."
Bulgaria's next 2014 World Cup qualifier, against Malta in March, will be at an empty stadium after supporters racially abused Denmark player Patrick Mtiliga in October's Group B match in Sofia.
World soccer's governing body Fifa described the incidents at the Vasil Levski national stadium as "offensive, denigratory and discriminatory"
And on Wednesday three Tottenham Hotspur supporters were injured in what appeared to be an anti-semitic attack at a pub in Lyon.
Up to 50 masked thugs attacked the Smoking Dog, which was packed with Spurs supporters ahead of the team's second leg Europa League tie with Olympique Lyonnais.
It is believed one fan suffered a broken arm during the incident.
Eyewitnesses said the attackers smashed doors, and threw cast-iron chairs, wooden objects and a flare in the pub, which is popular with expatriates. Witnesses also claimed they made Nazi salutes. Firefighters, police and, according to some reports, even Spurs officials were forced to intervene.
Tottenham are known for their traditional links to the Jewish community.
Spurs fans, who were attacked by Ultras in Rome in November, face a return trip to Italy as they play Inter Milan in the next round of the Europa League.
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