Mario Balotelli was yet again the target of racial abuse in Italy, as Sunday’s match against Lazio was halted a half-hour through to address chanting by visiting fans.
The match at Brescia’s Stadio Mario Rigamonti was halted momentarily in the 31st minute as a stadium announcement was made to condemn the racist chanting, telling fans the match would be abandoned if they did not stop. Brescia fans responded by chanting Balotelli’s name in support of their player.
Balotelli has been the target of repeated racist chanting this season throughout Serie A play, including against Inter Milan and Hellas Verona. He was even racially abused by his own fans and club president at times this season.
The 29-year-old Italian international scored the opener in the match on 18 minutes, but Brescia was ultimately beaten late as Ciro Immobile scored twice to give Lazio a 2-1 win. Balotelli took to Instagram after the match to condemn the chanting, posting a video of his goal with the caption, “Is a lost that hurt but we will come back stronger and we are on the right way!
Lazio fans that were today at the stadium SHAME ON YOU!”
Serie A has struggled mightily with curtailing racist chanting this season, as black players such as Romelu Lukaku, Franck Kessie, Dalbert Henrique, Ronaldo Vieira and Kalidou Koulibaly have all suffered racism directed their way. The league began a campaign against racism last month, but even that was criticized after official artwork depicted three monkeys, being branded as “a sick joke” by other European anti-racism organizations.