In the wake of crowd-generated racist chants directed toward AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli during Sunday's match, Serie A has decided that Inter Milan must be punished for the actions of their fanbase.
According to Sky Sports, Internazionale have been fined €50,000 and have been ordered to leave a prominent part of San Siro vacant for their match against Lazio Saturday.
Serie A released a statement, via Sky Sports, pinpointing the exact transgressions of a portion of the Inter fanbase during the rivalry match.
"The Nerazzurri supporters on five occasions during the first half of the game directed chants of racial discrimination at Mario Balotelli. The same fans directed anti-Naples chants in the first half."
Both Inter Milan and AC Milan have suffered through a difficult 2013-14 season. Inter sit a disappointing fifth in the Serie A standings, while AC Milan are even further back in eighth.
Tensions obviously boiled over at San Siro and Serie A had no choice but to act swiftly and decisively against Inter.
Balotelli, who previously played three seasons for Internazionale, has experienced a roller-coaster season for AC Milan thus far. Although he has 14 goals in 28 league matches, his commitment has often been questioned in the midst of AC Milan's nightmare season.
Despite repeated warnings and punishment, racism is still prevalent in European football. This isn't the first time that Inter fans have directed such chants toward Balotelli as they did so back in February 2013 as well, according to the Press Association, via The Guardian.
Apparently the offending fans didn't learn their lesson as Balotelli once again came under fire.
The Inter fans who participated in racist chants clearly crossed the line and made their club look absolutely terrible in the public eye.
If these types of situations persist, Serie A may have no choice but to begin punishing clubs in the standings. Inter fans won't be impacted by the club having to pay a fine, but forcing the forfeiture of points would be a different story.
Football leagues across the world must take a long, hard look at the measures that must be taken to curtail racism. The punishment against Inter is a good start, but it isn't nearly enough.
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