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Nice claims Balotelli issued yellow for complaining about racial abuse

Nice's Italian forward Mario Balotelli (R) talks with French referee Nicolas Rainville (L) during the French L1 football match between Dijon (DFCO) and Nice (OGCN) on February 10, 2018, at the Gaston Gerard Stadium in Dijon, central France. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES

PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP / Getty

French outfit OGC Nice has alleged that striker Mario Balotelli was issued a yellow card by referee Nicolas Rainville for complaining about racial abuse received from Dijon fans during a 3-2 loss on Saturday.

Nice tweeted that Balotelli had been cautioned for angrily protesting abuse he was receiving from the stands in the 74th minute. The Associated Press reports that “no further details were given” regarding the booking.

In quotes published on the Nice website, manager Lucien Favre was critical of the referee for a penalty he believes was unfairly awarded – one that allowed Dijon to equalise ahead of an 84th-minute winner scored by Chang-Hoon Kwon. But Favre did not mention the referee’s decision to book Balotelli.

Balotelli has been vocal about the racial abuse he has suffered throughout his career, calling out Bastia fans in January 2017 for directing monkey noises toward him. His complaints prompted an official investigation by the French league.

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