Newsdeck, Sport

Balotelli warning for racists at Euro 2012

By Reuters Sportsdesk 30 May 2012

Italian striker Mario Balotelli said he would "kill" anyone who threw a banana at him in the street during the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine next month. 

The volatile Manchester City player experienced racism during his time in Serie A and there are fears that black players could be subjected to it at the tournament.

“I will not accept racism at all,” Balotelli, who was abused by Juventus and Roma fans while playing for Inter Milan in 2009, told France Football magazine.

“If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to jail because I will kill them,” he added, referring to an incident in Rome when someone threw a banana at him in a bar.

“It was lucky the police arrived quickly because I swear, I would have beaten them. I would really have destroyed them.

“I hope it never happens again.”

BBC television’s current affairs show Panorama highlighted possible racism in Ukraine and Poland this week in a programme entitled Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate.

Images of fans making Nazi salutes and monkey chants towards black players have heightened fears that the tournament could be marred by crowd trouble.

Some black England players such as Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have said their families will not travel to watch the matches next month.

“Let’s see what happens at the Euros,” said Balotelli. “I hope it will pass without problem. I really couldn’t deal with that. If it happened I would walk off the pitch and return home.

“We are in 2012. It’s not possible.”

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday that fears of racism at the tournament had been exaggerated.

“Nobody who comes to Poland will be in any danger because of his race,” he told a news conference in Rome.

“This is not our custom, as is not pointing out similar incidents in other countries, although we know they take place. In Poland, they’re a rarity.”

In Kiev, Ukraine’s foreign ministry went further, saying the allegations were a “dreamed up and mythical problem”.

“You can criticise Ukrainian society for a lot of things … but, in the practice of racism, European Union member countries are a long way ahead of Ukraine,” said ministry spokesman Oleh Voloshyn in comments reported by Interfax news agency. DM

 

Photo: Italy’s national soccer players Gianluigi Buffon (L), Mario Balotelli (C) and Antonio Cassano talk during a training session in Coverciano, near Florence, May 30, 2012. Italy start their Euro 2012 Group C opener against holders Spain in Gdansk on June 10 and will also face Croatia and Ireland in host countries Ukraine and Poland. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Gallery

Support DAILY MAVERICK & get FREE UBER vouchers every month

An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money, though not nearly as much as its absence can cost global community. No country can live and prosper without truth - that's why it matters.

Every Daily Maverick article and every Scorpio exposé is proof of our dedication to this unshakeable mission. Investing in our news media is by far the most effective investment into South Africa's future.

You can support Independent and Investigative journalism by joining Maverick Insider. If you contribute R150 or more per month you will receive R100 back in UBER vouchers. EVERY MONTH until October 2019.

So, if you'd like to help and do something meaningful for yourself and your country, then sign up to become a Maverick Insider. Together we can Defend Truth.


Note from the Editor

Democracy in Africa? What democracy in Africa?

By Branko Brkic

An Oxford University study established that highly religious people and atheists are the least afraid of death.