Monday, 20 April 2009

Juve punished for racist chants

Juventus must play their next home Serie A game against Lecce on May 3 behind closed doors as punishment for the racist chants by their fans directed at Inter forward Mario Balotelli.

Mario BalotelliThe chanting took place during Saturday night's 1-1 draw against the reigning champions in the Derby d'Italia at Turin's Stadio Olimpico.

"The ruling is based on the fact that, on numerous occasions, the fans of the home club in several sections of the stadium chanted songs of racial discrimination against a rival player," read a statement from the Italian Football Federation's Disciplinary Commission.

Earlier, Juventus President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli voiced his anger over the abuse aimed at Balotelli.

"In the name of Juventus and the majority of its fans, I express condemnation for the racist chanting directed at Mario Balotelli," he said.

"There are no excuses and no justification for that behaviour. Episodes like this are unacceptable."

Inter President Massimo Moratti, who was not at the stadium but watched the game on television, was also shocked by the taunts directed at the Italy Under-21 international.

"Had I been at the stadium, at a certain point I would have left my place in the presidential stand and gone straight down and taken my players off the pitch," he said.

"There is a limit to everything. I thought the referee would stop the game but I was mistaken.

"These chants have been made by almost everyone at the stadium, with such conviction that there seemed to be pride and happiness in singing those songs.

"This is terrible and all my team left Turin shocked and hurt by this incident."

Juve, joint in second place with AC Milan, are 10 points behind Serie A leaders Inter with only six games remaining.

Source: Sporting Life

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