Tuesday 21 May, 2019

Balotelli praised for reacting to racist Italy fans' banner

Italy's Mario Balotelli looks on prior to the start of the friendly football match between Saudi Arabia and Italy, at Kybunpark Stadium, in St Gallen, Switzerland, Monday, May 28, 2018. (Gian Ehrenzeller/ Keystone via AP)

Italy's Mario Balotelli looks on prior to the start of the friendly football match between Saudi Arabia and Italy, at Kybunpark Stadium, in St Gallen, Switzerland, Monday, May 28, 2018. (Gian Ehrenzeller/ Keystone via AP)

Mario Balotelli has been praised by anti-racism campaigners for highlighting an offensive banner displayed by fans at his comeback game for Italy.

Anti-discrimination group Fare wrote on Twitter: "Well done to Mario Balotelli . standing up to racism in Italian football once again."

The slogan "My captain is of Italian blood" in Italian was draped on a pitch-side wall during Italy's 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in Switzerland.

Balotelli scored the opening goal with a powerful shot in his first national-team game since the 2014 World Cup.

On his Instagram account, Balotelli posted an image of the banner, adding his own message: "We are in 2018 guys. Wake up!"

Fare, which stood for "Football Against Racism in Europe," is now a global organization. It has long worked with UEFA, and will help FIFA monitor discrimination at World Cup games in Russia.

For the latest news, download our app at http://bit.ly/GetALoopJM for Android; and at http://bit.ly/GetiLoopJM for IoS.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: