Hellas Verona coach Ivan Juric insists he “is disgusted by racist abuse, but there was none of that” towards Brescia star Mario Balotelli today.
The Italy international threatened to walk off during the game at the Stadio Bentegodi after hearing something from the far end of the arena, where the hardline ultras sit.
“I am not afraid to say there were no racist chants today. They might’ve jeered and mocked the great player, but there was nothing there. Nothing,” Croatian coach Juric told Sky Sport Italia.
“I’ve been called ‘sh***y gypsy’ many times and Italy is moving towards this general idea of blaming foreigners for everything, but this was not the case today.
“You can ask him, there was nothing there. I am disgusted by racist abuse and I will be the first to condemn it when it happens, but this was not it.
“They provoked him with jeers and sarcastic chants, but they were not racist. Anything else is a lie.”
This is certainly not the first time Hellas Verona and their far-right contingent of ultras have hit the headlines, but Juric was adamant.
“It is absolutely unacceptable to see racist insults in 2019 and I will condemn any of my fans who do such a thing, but that was not the case today. They were shouting ‘Mario’ in a sarcastic way.
“He kicked the ball into the stands, but that’s his problem.”
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