Racism Continues To Prove A Concern For Euro 2012 Players
One player in particular, Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, who will represent Italy in the tournament slated for next month, has come out denouncing the rampant racism he faces as a black player on the pitch.
Threatening to walk should he be met with racism within Polish or Ukrainian stadiums, Balotelli has had a history of bouts with racist fans and abuses flung at him both on and off the field.
Balotelli and his team were even forced to hold matches closed to the public after a recent incident occurred while playing against Juventus. During a Europa league match earlier this year, monkey chants directed toward Balotelli earned the City opponent, Porto, a hefty £16,000 fine.
Having been the victim of abuses on and off the field, even having bananas hurled at him while visiting a bar in Rome, Balotelli threatens that if he is met with offenses from any man off the field he “will go to prison because I will kill him”.
While Balotelli is certainly not the only black player taking part in the Euro 2012, he has been the most vocal about his stance on the apparent racism players of color will face in Poland and Ukraine. If things do tend to turn sour for players, there may be huge upsets in the works not just for fans, but tournament organizers, players, and book makers as well.
Poland and Ukraine both pledge to squelch any vilent or racist acts before there is any issue, but only time will tell after the Euro 2012 event kicks off on June 8th.