Mourinho says Balotelli insults were not racist

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The Independent Football

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho doesn't believe the insults hurled by fans at striker Mario Balotelli constitute racism.

"It's not racism," Mourinho said today. "It's just an ignorant way to show dissent for an opponent that isn't liked because he scores."

Balotelli scored for Inter in the team's 1-1 draw at Juventus on Saturday, and Juventus has been ordered to play its next match in an empty stadium for fans' racist behavior toward Balotelli, an 18-year-old Italian who was born in Palermo but is of Ghanaian descent.

"If I can say something in defense of Juve, Saturday was not the first time. It's happened in many stadiums and even at our own ground," Mourinho said, according to the ANSA news agency. "I don't know what the difference is between 3,000 or 4,000 fans in Turin or 500 visiting fans at the San Siro, but it's not the first time.

"Something has to be done," Mourinho added. "But I definitely don't like the idea of playing a game behind closed doors, because half the reasons for playing remain outside also, with the fans."