31st of May 2012 Author: Johnny Karp
Manchester City and Italy striker Mario Balotelli has made his position quite clear: he will walk off the pitch if he is racially abused at Euro 2012, the tournament which kicks off on June 8th. Moreover, Balotelli added he would "kill" anyone who would throw a banana at him in the street.
A recent BBC Panorama show revealed cases of racism and anti-Semitism in football grounds in Euro 2012 host nations Poland and Ukraine.
"If racism does happen I would leave the pitch and go home," Balotelli stated. "Racism is unacceptable to me, I cannot bear it. We are in 2012, it can't happen. If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to prison because I will kill him', the striker added.
The BBC Panorama documentary showed fans making Nazi salutes on the stands, black players being taunted with monkey chants and a violent assault on a group of Asian students. Former England captain Sol Campbell reacted and advised fans not to travel to Euro 2012, suggesting they would be risking their lives if they did so.
Ukraine's Euro 2012 director Markian Lubkivsky quickly responded and said that Campbell's remarks were "insolent".
Mario Balotelli, 21 years old, does have a history of abuse though. While playing in Italy for Inter Milan he was the target of racist abuse on a regular basis and that was probably one of the reasons that pushed him to accept the move to England where he plays for Premier League champions Manchester City.
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