French Ligue 1 leaders Nice drew 1-1 to SC Bastia on Friday. But all talk surrounded Nice striker Mario Balotelli who alleged that he was racially abused by Bastia fans throughout the match.
Saturday, video surfaced of Balotelli warming up pregame as some Bastia fans made monkey noises toward Balotelli.
After the match, Balotelli posted on Instagram about what he experienced. French league officials will investigate this week.
“Is it normal that Bastia supporters make monkey noises for the whole game and nobody from the ‘discipline commission’ says anything?
“So is racism legal in France? Or only in Bastia? Football is an amazing sport, but people like Bastia supporters make it horrible. Truly a disgrace.”
This sadly isn’t the first time Balotelli has experienced racist fans. He has particularly experienced racist acts from fans while playing in his native Italy, both for club and country. One notable instance was when Balotelli was playing for AC Milan and former Italian Prime Minister and AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi said Balotelli was “also Italian even if he has taken too much sun.”
This is yet another example of racism rearing its ugly head in soccer. FIFA has a anti-racism campaign called “Say No to Racism” but that has been more of a bogus PR campaign that helped raise more awareness for players shaking hands and reading prepared statements than actually doing anything to stop racism in soccer.
And if you thought that way of thinking was gone after corrupt former president Sepp Blatter resigned, you would be wrong. Last September, FIFA and current president Gianni Infantino disbanded their anti-racism task force claiming their job was done.
Clearly, FIFA was either being delusional or they never really gave a shit about racism. Most likely, it’s both.
[BBC/Photo: Helene Roisin]