Mario Balotelli Subjected to Racist Chants During Milan-Roma Match
FIFA president Sepp Blatter was “appalled” when he learned of the racist chanting that caused AC Milan’s match against Roma to be suspended.
The game was stopped for 97 seconds during the second half when visiting Roma supporters would not stop chanting at Milan players Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng. The league fined Roma 50,000 Euros, equivalent to almost $65,000.
“Appalled to read about racist abuse in Serie A last night,” Blatter tweeted. “Tackling this issue is complex, but we’re committed to action, not just words.”
Referee Gianluca Rocchi made the decision to suspend the match briefly after warnings issued over the stadium speaker system went unheeded. Roma captain Francesco Totti had also attempted to calm the fans to no avail.
Balotelli was born in Italy to Ghanian immigrants and is the star forward of Italy’s national squad. Boateng was born in Germany to a German mother and a Ghanian father and plays for Ghana’s national team.
The match at Milan’s San Siro stadium ended 0-0.
Roma general director Franco Baldini said it was uncertain whether the chants were racist.
“The boos were directed at Balotelli because he’s a feared player,” Baldini said, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport. “The nature of the chants was not clear. And I clearly heard the Milan fans chanting `romano bastardo’ – `roman bastard’ – which is just as discriminatory. It’s difficult to figure out where the border is between racial discrimination or simple boos.”