Balotelli says he won't tolerate abuse at Euros
May 30, 2012, 6:10 p.m. |
PARIS — Italy striker Mario Balotelli warned that he would walk off the field if he hears abusive chants in stadiums during the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine next month.
Balotelli comments were published in France Football magazine amid concerns that the Euro 2012 could be marred by racism.
English authorities have warned that far-right football hooligans could spark violence during the tournament that runs from June 8 to July 1.
The families of two of England's black players, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, have already indicated they are unlikely to travel to the Euros because of fears of racial abuse.
Balotelli told the French biweekly magazine that he's appalled by racism in sport. He was born in Italy to Ghanaian parents.
"I can't stand racism. I don't accept it," Balotelli said in an interview with the biweekly magazine. He recounted a 2009 incident, when bananas were thrown at him in a bar in Rome.
"Those two or three boys were lucky that police came immediately because I swear I would have beaten them up," Balotelli said. "I would have really destroyed them. I hope it will no longer happen. If someone throws bananas at me in the street, I'll go to jail because I'll kill him."
"If that were to happen again, I would leave the pitch right away and go back home," Balotelli said, adding that he hopes for an incident-free tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
"Let's see what will happen at the Euros. I hope there won't be any problem," Balotelli said.
Balotelli won the Italian league three times with Inter Milan before joining Manchester City in 2010. He helped City win the Premier League title this season.
The Italian has also made headlines with his antics off the field.