Verona Council to Discuss Mario Balotelli Defamation Lawsuit After Racist Abuse

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2019

VERONA, ITALY - NOVEMBER 03: Mario Balotelli of Brescia Calcio  reacts during the Serie A match between Hellas Verona and Brescia Calcio at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi on November 3, 2019 in Verona, Italy.  (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Verona's city council is considering suing Mario Balotelli for defamation after the Brescia striker was racially abused at Hellas Verona's Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on Sunday during a Serie A match.

Former Italy international Balotelli kicked the ball in anger into the stand he was being abused from and almost walked off the pitch, but he was persuaded by his team-mates and Verona players to remain in the game.

The match, which Verona won 2-1, was subsequently stopped after referee Maurizio Mariani initiated the anti-racism protocol, and an announcement was made in the stadium warning further abuse would lead to an abandonment.

In video footage, some fans can be heard directing monkey chants towards the Palermo-born Balotelli:

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, though, Hellas Verona and the mayor of the city have denied any racist abuse occurred, and five local councillors have now proposed a motion to sue Balotelli and "those who unfairly attack Verona with defamatory statements," per Football Italia.

They added: "It is no longer acceptable that Verona be put in the dock even when, as in this case, nothing happened."

Balotelli, 29, was brought up in Brescia and joined his hometown club in August after leaving Marseille on a free transfer.

He netted his second Serie A goal of the season in defeat to Verona.

After the match, the former Manchester City player has received plenty of backing for his actions, including from Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti:

Per Football Italia, Verona have also banned club ultra leader Luca Castellini until June 2030 after he said Balotelli was "never completely Italian" and used numerous racial slurs in an interview after the game. 

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