Roma given partial stadium closure after Mario Balotelli chants
Roma will have to shut down part of their stadium for one game next season after the club’s supporters repeated racist chants about Mario Balotelli.
The Serie A side reacted by vowing to ban anyone identified with the songs.
Roma were fined £42,400 after the game against Balotelli’s AC Milan was halted and restarted on 12 May.
After the striker was the target of more racial abuse in Sunday’s game with Napoli, the south stand of Roma’s ground will be temporarily closed.
“What occurred Sunday night is appalling and unacceptable. AS Roma does not want those individuals [who are] responsible as fans,” the club said in a statement.
“The actions of this small group are hateful and also hurt our club and our loyal law-abiding supporters.
“We have not yet received a detailed report from the league or federation but will continue to work with them and law enforcement to ensure that everything possible is done to identify and ban those involved from football stadia.”
As well as having to shut the Curva Sud section for one game at the start of next season, Roma have been issued with another 50,000 euros (£42,400) fine.
That 8,486-capacity Curva Sud part of Stadio Olimpico houses the club’s most hardcore fans – called ‘Ultras’.
Roma’s partial stadium closure does not apply to Sunday’s Coppa Italia derby at the ground with neighbours Lazio.
Balotelli’s former club Inter Milan was also punished with a 50,000 euros fine – but no stadium ban – after their fans abused him in their 5-2 defeat at Udinese on Sunday.
In February, Inter were fined the same amount for singing offensive songs about the Italy international during the Milan derby.
Balotelli was one of three black players the Italian football authorities declared had been victimised after play in the 0-0 draw between Milan and Roma was stopped for about two minutes.
Despite both Roma and Napoli players wearing anti-racism T-shirts while warming up before last weekend’s 2-1 win for the hosts, the chants reoccurred after news filtered through to the Olimpico crowd that Balotelli had scored a late penalty in Milan’s 2-1 victory at Siena which helped secure the club’s Champions League qualifying place
Last week, Balotelli – who has scored 12 goals in 13 appearances since joining from Manchester City in January – threatened to walk off the pitch if he is ever again subjected to racist abuse from fans.
“If it happens one more time, I’m going to leave the pitch, because it’s so stupid,” the Italy international told CNN.
“I always said if it happens in the stadium, I would just behave as if nobody had done anything and that I don’t care, but now I think I’ve changed my mind a bit.”
There have been a number of other incidents this season involving racial abuse of AC Milan’s players.
A January friendly between Milan and Pro Patria was suspended because of racist chants aimed at Kevin-Prince Boateng.
And in April, champions Juventus were fined 30,000 euros (£25,000) after their supporters racially abused AC Milan players.
From BBC Sport