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Gravina says there will be no escape for racists in Italian soccer

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on November 6, 2019 - Duration: 01:48s

Gravina says there will be no escape for racists in Italian soccer

The president of the Italian Soccer Federation Gabriele Gravina says that racism "will have no escape" following incidents against Mario Balotelli during a Serie A match on Sunday.

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Gravina says there will be no escape for racists in Italian soccer

SHOWS: ROME, ITALY (NOVEMBER 5, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) PRESIDENT OF THE ITALIAN SOCCER FEDERATION, GABRIELE GRAVINA, SAYING: "As for the sports field, we will do our best and we will bring to the meeting that the Minister (for youth policies and sport Vincenzo) Spadafora will organise with the Minister of the Interior (Luciana Lamorgese) technologically advanced tools to ensure that the face and audio of these subjects are clearly identified even in the smallest details.

There will be no escape.

We will not give up until there is an end to this disgrace." VERONA, ITALY (NOVEMBER 3, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - PHOTO BY MAURIZIO BORSARI/AFLO - NO USE CHINA.

NO USE TAIWAN.

NO USE KOREA.

NO USE JAPAN) 2.

MARIO BALOTELLI WITH BRESCIA'S BRUNO MARTELLA AND SOFYAN AMRABAT OF

Class="kln">HELLAS VERONA DURING THE SERIE A MATCH BETWEEN HELLAS VERONA AND BRESCIA 3.

BALOTELLI WITH BRESCIA'S DANIELE GASTALDELLO AND AMRABAT 4.

BALOTELLI AND AMRABAT ROME, ITALY (NOVEMBER 5, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 5.

(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) PRESIDENT OF THE ITALIAN SOCCER FEDERATION, GABRIELE GRAVINA, SAYING: "I hope that he (Mario Balotelli) could soon take an active part in our national team because it would be an extraordinary message that we could give to those who only have the ability to activate a cathartic function, thinking that the use of these (racist) expressions may discourage the adversary.

From a cultural point of view, it is an extremely petty and vulgar act that does not absolutely deserve to be taken into consideration in our world." BRESCIA, ITALY (AUGUST 19, 2019) (ESTE NEWS - ACCESS ALL) 6.

BALOTELLI WAVING TO FANS FROM THE BALCONY OF THE HOTEL STORY: The President of the Italian Soccer Federation Gabriele Gravina on Tuesday (November 5) said there will be no escape for racism in football after Brescia forward Mario Balotelli was allegedly insulted with monkey noises during a Serie A match against Hellas Verona.

Speaking during a news conference in Rome, Gravina told reporters the federation will bring new tools to identify racist supporters during Serie A matches.

"There will be no escape.

We will not give up until there is no end to this disgrace", Gravina said.

Verona have been handed a one-match partial stadium closure over the racist abuse suffered by Balotelli on Sunday (November 3) while the club themselves have banned one of their leading ultras for more than 10 years.

Balotelli kicked the ball into the crowd and threatened to walk off the pitch early in the second half of Verona's 2-1 league win because he said some fans were making monkey noises.

The referee stopped play for around five minutes while announcements were made to the crowd.

The 29-year-old, who was born in Sicily to Ghanaian parents and given up for adoption when he was three, has faced racist abuse throughout his career in Italy.

Serie A's disciplinary tribunal on Tuesday ordered Verona to close the part of the stadium where the abuse was heard for their next home game.

It said in its report that Balotelli was the target of racially discriminatory chanting which was "clearly perceptible" to both the player and the match delegate.

Both the home club and Verona's mayor had denied the abuse had taken place.

Meanwhile, Verona banned ultra Luca Castellini from its matches until June 2030 for "considerations and expressions... utterly contrary to the ethical principles and values of this club." That appeared to refer to an incendiary radio interview on Monday (November 4) when Castellini said that Verona fans were merely being "irreverent", that Balotelli was "clowning around" and that the player could never be considered completely Italian.

Italian authorities have long been criticised by anti-racism campaigners for not doing enough to tackle the problem and last month Cagliari escaped sanctions after Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku allegedly suffered racist abuse from their fans.

(Production: Antonio Denti, Fabiano Franchitti)

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