Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge said those who applaud Mario Balotelli and Angelo Ogbonna are “the better side of Italy.”
The first black minister in Italy was present at the Stadio Dall’Ara for tonight’s friendly against San Marino. Before the game, both captains read out an anti-racism message.
“The Italy that applauds players like Balotelli and Ogbonna is the better side of Italy,” said Minister Kyenge.
“This Italy does exist and the Government will always be alongside clean sport.”
Balotelli stated this week that the referee might not necessarily be able to stop play if there are racist chants, as only he can truly define what an unbearable insult is.
“Balotelli’s words are a sign of reason for the institutions, the sport, the citizens and civilised society. His words give responsibility to all of us.
“I saluted all the players before the match and encouraged them. I also brought the message on behalf of Minister for Sport Josefa Idem, as we all stand by clean sport, respect for people and fighting racism.
“We must intervene with every instrument at our disposal. Racism grows from the lack of knowledge about diversity. We must work on the culture of non-violence right from the school rooms to the stadiums.
“We need to educate against violence as well as racism, focusing on non-violent language. There is a fine line between provocation and racism, but we have to work on the conscience.”