“Super Mario” recently suggested he will respond to racist abuse with goals.
The Mayor of Verona has accused AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli of provoking racism as the Italian international prepares to face Hellas Verona this weekend.
The Rossoneri travel to the Bentegodi stadium on Saturday evening to get their Serie A campaign underway, but the controversy has already begun ahead of their arrival.
Flavio Tosi, who is a member of the anti-immigration Lega Nord political party, has made his comments ahead of the game as there is a fear of racist incidents given the history of the club’s supporters.
“Will I reassure Balotelli about coming to Verona? There are two aspects here,” noted Tosi on Radio Sportiva as reported by Football Italia.
“One is the fans, the other is the club that has always worked hard to improve the behaviour of the fans other than those four idiots. If someone acts like a cretin, he’ll be in the minority.
“However, if Balotelli provoked people a bit less, then it would be even better. There are many black players, but not all of them stoke the ire of the opposition fans. Most have no problems. Balotelli is very good at making himself unlikeable,” he concluded.
His comments are likely to be met with widespread condemnation, as rather than attempting to tackle the problem it appears Tosi is trying to lay the blame with others instead.
With Lazio’s Curva Nord closed for their first game of the season against Udinese at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday due to racist chanting, it is a problem that continues to blight Serie A.
However, the FIGC have begun to hand out harsh punishments swiftly which was recently lauded by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, but it is argued that much more must be done in order to stamp racism out of the game.