Mario Balotelli invites fans abuse because he is a 'troublemaker' claims the mayor of Verona
However, Flavio Tosi believes punishing sets of fans who are found guilty of racial chanting is the right thing to do ahead of Verona's return to the Serie A
Friday 23 August 2013
Mario Balotelli has had his fair share of criticisms in the past, but his latest comes from a rather surprising figure in the form of the mayor of Verona Flavio Tosi.
Hellas Verona return to the Serie A this weekend 11 years since their last match in Italy’s top flight, taking on Balotelli’s AC Milan at home, and Tosi has claimed that any chants or abuse aimed at Balotelli from rival fans are due to the striker’s attitude in winding them up first.
"Mario is a troublemaker,” said Tosi. “There are lots of black players (in Italy), and those who don't wind up opposition fans don't have any problems."
Tosi represents the separatist Northern League party, which has been overshadowed by a racism storm in recent times, and his comments came in an interview with Radio Sportiva.
"Balotelli is a formidable player... but he knows how to be irksome when he's out on the pitch, and that exasperates people. He even managed to have issues with Chievo fans, who most certainly are not racist,” he added.
However, Tosi firmly backed the punishments for racial abuse towards players, claiming that closing sections of the stands or even the whole stadium is a good approach and should be implemented if required.
Both Lazio and Roma will have to play matches with certain fans sections closed in the Olympic Stadium in Roma, after incidents of racist chanting occurred in previous fixtures.
"If chants come from four idiotic individuals then it's right to close the sector. If it's the whole stadium at fault then it's correct to close the entire ground," the Italian newspaper Gazzetta Dello Sport quoted Tosi as saying.
His party has been involved in a series of recent racial scandals, and Tosi was the only Northern League politician to publicly apologise to Italy’s Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge for comments made by the Senate vice-president and fellow party member Roberto Calderoli, in which he said Kyenge looked like an orangutan.
Balotelli has been victim of racial abuse in the past, with sets of fans from Fiorentina and Roma aiming chants towards him as well as his former club Inter Milan earlier this year.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Latest in Sport
Think before you ink: Manchester United fan gets Sir Alex Ferguson tattoo - and will regret it for the rest of his life
Paul Scholes column: Rio Ferdinand and John Terry row was bad but they could have kept playing for England
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Mesut Ozil given the worst rating possible by German newspaper Bild after poor performance
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City report: Jerome Boateng thrashes home winner against former team
- 2 Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'