Balotelli responds to racist chants with sublime goal

Brescia striker Mario Balotelli kicked the ball into the crowd and threatened to walk off the pitch following racial abuse during Brescia’s defeat by Hellas Verona.

Referee Maurizio Mariani suspended play and initiated the anti-racism protocol after Italy striker Balotelli, 29, picked up the ball in the 54th-minute.

Brescia team-mates and the officials persuaded the ex-Manchester City and Liverpool player to stay on the field.

An announcement warned fans that more abuse would see the game abandoned.

Balotelli played the full match and responded with a sublime goal in the 85th-minute – though his side were unable to find a late equaliser.

On Saturday, another Serie A match between Roma and Napoli was temporarily paused due to chants aimed at Napoli supporters.

Anti-discriminatory body Fare claimed earlier this season that Italian football’s disciplinary systems to combat racism are “not fit for purpose”.

That came after Cagliari were cleared of racist chanting towards Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku, with a judging panel determining there was not enough evidence for sanctions.

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