Mario Balotelli could be sued for defamation by the City of Verona in Italy after complaining about being racially abused by Hellas Verona fans.
A motion sent to Verona council by local councillors proposes that Balotelli should be sued. It was published by Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy, via Reuters.
“The mayor and the legal offices of the municipality should take legal action against the footballer and all those who attack Verona by unjustly defaming it… It is no longer fair that Verona is put in the dock when, as in this case, nothing happened.”
Since the incident the Hellas Verona manager, Ivan Juric, club president, Maurizio Setti, the club and the mayor of Verona, Federico Sboarina, have denied Balotelli was racially abused.
However, on Tuesday the club handed an 11-year suspension to Luca Castellini for “behavior based on considerations and expressions seriously contrary to those that distinguish the ethical principles and values of our club” and added he was suspended until 30 June 2030.
Footage on social media has circulated showing monkey noises clearly being directed at Balotelli.
Balotelli reacted angrily in the Serie A clash on Sunday, as he picked up the ball and kicked it towards the fans where he claimed the racist chants were coming from.
After threatening to walk off the pitch Balotelli was then surrounded by players from both teams who consoled him and told him to stay on. The referee halted the game for around five minutes as announcements were made to the crowd over the PA system.
Balotelli scored as Brescia lost 2-1.
It is the latest in a long line of recent incidents of racist chanting in Serie A, with Romelu Lukaku and targeted this season. Balotelli has been subjected to racist abuse in Italy throughout his career, as the Italian national was born to Ghanian parents but adopted by an Italian family at the age of three.
The Italian national team striker released the following statement on social media about the incident, which has angered some councillors in Verona and led to this call for legal action against the former Inter Milan and Manchester City star.
“Thanks to all the colleagues on the field and off for the solidarity I had with me, and all the messages received from you fans,” Balotelli said. “Thank you very much. You have proven to be true men not like those who deny the evidence. #notoracism.
“The ’people’ of this curva who made the monkey chants. Shame on you, shame on you, shame on you. In front of your children, wives, relatives, parents, friends and acquaintances … shame.”
Well said, Mario.