Marcello Nicchi, president of the Italian Referee’s Association, says that the 22-year-old Milan star will be red carded if he leaves the pitch in protest
Marcello Nicchi, president of the Italian Referee’s Association (AIA) has warned Mario Balotelli that he will be receive a red card if he walks off a pitch due to racial abuse.
The AC Milan star claimed that he would have no problem in leaving the field if he were to encounter any more racist chanting in Serie A, as team-mate Kevin Prince Boateng did in January during a friendly game.
And while Nicchi accepts that the authorities need to do more to combat racism in the game, he says enforcement of rules will see Italy international punished.
“Everyone is free to express their own opinions but there are rules. Whoever leaves the field to make a protest, without warning the referee or without being substituted will be sent off,” he told SkyTG24.
“Less importance has to be given to this phenomenon as a media event and more importance from what can be done realistically.
“Be tough and uncompromising with the idiots who sing these shameful chants.”
Balotelli was subject to racist chants from Roma fans during Sunday’s 0-0 draw at San Siro, with the Giallorossi promptly fined €50,000 for their supporters’ conduct.