Balotelli racial abuser banned
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Fan who aimed chants at Balotelli banned from sports events

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VERONA, Italy — A Sicilian man was banned from European sports events for five years Thursday for directing racist chants at Brescia striker Mario Balotelli.

Verona police issued the ruling after reviewing evidence from the Hellas Verona-Brescia game on Nov. 3.

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The 38-year-old man was also barred from frequenting areas that fans pass through on match days.

Balotelli angrily kicked a ball high into the stands and threatened to leave the field because of the racist chants directed at him during the game in Verona, which was suspended for several minutes.

Balotelli, who is black, was also subjected to racist chants by Lazio fans during a game last weekend.

Balotelli was born in Italy to Ghanaian immigrants and has represented the Italian national team. He recently returned to Serie A after several seasons in France.

Pogba posts emotional photo, message after racist abuse

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Paul Pogba is again speaking out against racism, again, after racists, again, took shots at him and his black Manchester United teammates.

United dominated Crystal Palace on Saturday but lost 2-1, with Marcus Rashford smashing the post with a penalty kick. Pogba missed a penalty kick in the draw against Wolves on Monday and gave away the ball in the run-up to Palace’s winner.

[ MORE: Man Utd had “domination, not control” in loss ]

Pogba took to Twitter on Sunday to display a photo with his infant child next to portraits of his father and civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.

“My ancestors and my parents suffered for my generation to be free today, to work, to take the bus, to play football. Racist insults are ignorance and can only make me strong and motivate me to fight for the next generation.”

This isn’t any type of brave take, but the sort of reprehensible voices that take to criticizing players by resorting to racial abuse are among the worst brand of cowards. Hot bet says the abuse wasn’t attached to someone’s actual identity or was attached to a burner account.

Be kind today.

Batshuayi doubts UEFA cares about racism after case dropped

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi questioned if UEFA cared about tackling racism on Thursday after European soccer’s governing body rejected his complaint that Atalanta fans subjected him to abuse during a Europa League game in Italy.

“LOL. Must be my imagination,” Batshuayi wrote on Twitter after The Associated Press broke the news of the UEFA verdict.

[ MORE: #AskJPW on Chelsea job, relegation scrap ]

The Belgium international, who is on loan at Dortmund from Chelsea, tweeted after the February game: “2018 and still racists monkey noises in the stands … really?!”

UEFA did not explain why it dropped the charge against Atalanta, announcing only that it decided “to close the disciplinary proceedings opened for racist or discriminatory behavior.”

There have been several incidents of racism at matches in Italy this season.

“It’s just monkey noise who cares?” Batshuayi tweeted on Thursday. “2018 guys”

UEFA did sanction Atalanta and Dortmund for other offenses by fans at the game.

Atalanta was fined 34,000 euros after its fans set off fireworks, threw objects, and blocked a stairwell.

German club Dortmund was fined 40,000 euros over the use of fireworks and the hurling of objects by supporters.

Player turned politician: “No racism in Russia”

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Here’s an ignorant statement for the ages, one that even the most pro-Russia honk can scoff at with confidence.

Russian soccer mainstay Alexei Smerlin was a more than respectable player, earning 55 caps for his country and enjoying a club career that included stops at Fulham, Dynamo Moscow and Chelsea.

[ MORE: U.S. names final U-23 roster for Olympic qualifying ]

His social views, however, are questionable, and he’s a politician now in Russia. And as much as we understand Russians defending the accusations their country faces in regards to racism, corruption and the 2018 World Cup, to deny that racism exists in a country is a whole other story.

And it’s the story being spun by Smerlin.

From the BBC:

“There’s no racism in Russia, because it does not exist,” Smertin told the BBC’s World Football programme.

“Racism in Russia is like fashion. It comes from abroad, from different countries,” he said. “It was never, ever here before. Ten years ago, some fans may have given a banana to black guys – it was just for fun.”

Fun! Wacky! Zany!

Fortunately, the BBC also has comments from several black players who’ve found themselves more than offended in Russia, including Andre Bikey. The Cameroonian back for Charlton Athletic shared his stories about carrying a gun while playing in Russia after being jumped.

And also fortunately, a Russian CEO tried to frame it a better way than Smerlin.

“We quite naturally acknowledge the problem that clearly does not exist only in Russia, but many other countries,” said 2018 World Cup chief executive officer Alexei Sorokin in response.”

That’s the way you play, for future reference. “Yes there’s racism in my country, but we’re not an outlying and unruly nation of monsters” is cool.

“There’s no racism here, and it’s a media construct” is not.

FIFA to employ discrimination monitors at 2018 World Cup matches


FIFA announced today that the organization will implement a new racism monitoring system at matches in Russia during the 2017 Confederations Cup and 2018 World Cup.

The system, which was constructed based on recommendations from a FIFA task force focused on preventing racism and discrimination, will revolve around officials at games who will monitor crowds and provide information to match and arena officials both during and after games.

Interestingly, FIFA’s release explicitly says the monitor’s “main objective is to optimize legal procedures by providing much needed evidence leading to potential sanctions” not necessarily to take action during the matches in an effort to stop or prevent any violations.

From FIFA’s official announcement:

As part of the new monitoring system, specially trained Anti-Discrimination Match Observers will be appointed to games that have been identified as high risk. After every monitored match, the Match Observer will provide a report within 24 hours to FIFA’s disciplinary body, which will analyse the information and decide on the potential opening of disciplinary proceedings.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has been highly outspoken on racism in the sport, and approved of the additional steps taken. “I’m very satisfied to see that FIFA is taking this issue very seriously and putting in place concrete measures to stop behavior which goes against the spirit of our sport,” Toure said during the unveiling at Wembley Stadium.

FIFA will collaborate with the FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) Network to assess each match in order to determine which will be flagged as high-risk environments. FARE executive director Piara Powar said games involving England, France, and Germany have a higher risk of racial events occurring.

The environment in Russia leading up to and during the 2018 World Cup has been a concern for many around the world in the racism department. Sepp Blatter said there is “a lot of work to be done” regarding creating a safe and comfortable environment for players and fans in the country.