an exclusion and a closing of rostrum in Verona after the racist cries for Mario Balotelli

The management of Hellas Verona banned from stadium until June 2030 Luca Castellini, head of Ultras club. The Disciplinary Committee of the Football League has decided to close for a match of a sector of the Verona stadium.

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Brescia's Mario Balotelli, second from right, reacts to Verona fans' racist chants during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Verona and Brescia at the Bentegodi stadium in Verona, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. (Simone Venezia / ANSA via AP ) Simone Venezia / AP

Long-term exclusion and temporary stand closure. The last and umpteenth "case" of racist cries for a player during a match of the Italian football championship last weekend, between Verona and Brescia, has not remained without sanctions as was often the case in recent years.

The management of Hellas Verona announced, Tuesday, October 5, to have banned from stadium until June 2030 Luca Castellini, chief of Ultras of the club, for "Considerations and expressions seriously contrary to the ethical principles and values ​​of our club".

The Disciplinary Committee of the Italian Football League has meanwhile decided to close for a match of a sector of the Verona stadium, from which Sunday left racist cries. This sector can accommodate approximately 3,500 spectators, the stadium having a little over 30,000 seats.

These racist screams (cries of monkey), as well as the remarks made by Luca Castellini, were aimed at the Italian striker of Brescia, Mario Balotelli. On Sunday, shortly before the 60th minute of the match, the Brescia striker took the ball in hand and sent it violently to the Verona fans. Furious, he had shown by gestures that he had heard something.

He was then out of bounds and started to walk behind the goal as if he wanted to quit the match. The match was interrupted a few minutes before a message was read by the stadium announcer, indicating that the players would return to the locker room in case of a new incident of the same kind.

Read also Football: Italian fans deny racism about monkey screaming against a player

Racist cries "clearly perceived"

After the match, Hellas coach Ivan Juric and club president Maurizio Setti denied the existence of racist cries.

Asked Monday on an Italian radio, Luca Castellini, the head of Ultras club and also an active member of the neo-fascist party Forza Nuova, had meanwhile declared that the player is "Italian because he has Italian nationality"but that he could not "Never be totally Italian". "We also have a ghostwriter on the team. Yesterday he scored and the whole city applauded "he added.

While a video broadcast Sunday on social networks can hear cries of monkeys from the stands, Luca Castellini had also assured that "These songs came from only four people, and were heard only by those who watched this video".

In its statement, published Tuesday, the Disciplinary Committee of the Italian Football League explains that the cries in question "Were clearly perceived, in addition to the player, by the delegate positioned nearby". It also stresses, however, that "After these cries … cries of support arose followed by long applause".

Read also "I'm not a monkey": players testify about racism in football


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