Brescia ultras defend Verona fans after racist abuse of Balotelli

Brescia ultras are defending the faction of Verona fans who racially abused Mario Balotelli last weekend, resulting in the club forward kicking the ball into the stands and threatening to walk off the pitch in protest.

Verona subsequently handed the leader of the team’s ultras group a 10-year ban for racist remarks after the match. The Brescia ultras feel that sparked a witch hunt against similar supporters groups worldwide. They’ve branded Balotelli as arrogant.

“We have no doubts Balotelli is to all intents Italian – even a Bresciano,” a statement from the ultras group that BBC Sport obtained read. “But the arrogance that he continually gives off is unjustifiable.”

“The personal declarations of one of the leaders of the Verona Curva cannot justify the witch hunt sparked by the media and institutions in yet another attempt to criminalize and destroy the entire ultras world,” the statement continued.

“This does not mean that certain chants are legitimate or acceptable, but nor are all Verona fans racists and the Verona Curva some sort of KKK (Klu Klux Klan) coven.

“Entire fan bases cannot be considered racist, but racism does exist and it is often used to create mass panic in public opinion. This unconventional language is used more and more by public and political figures, but of course nobody would think of banning them because of some code of ethics.”

Balotelli’s outburst occurred after he was subjected to monkey chants during Brescia’s away loss to Verona. He later blamed the incident on a “handful of idiots” while attempting to reject suggestions he accused the entire club of being racist.

Serie A announced on Tuesday that Verona have been ordered to close part of their stadium for one match.

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