x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Inter Milans fans must feel the pinch for racist chants over Balotelli

Fines are evidently an insufficient deterrent for serial offenders.

AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli was subjected to racist chants by Inter Milan fans. Daniel Zennaro / EPA
AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli was subjected to racist chants by Inter Milan fans. Daniel Zennaro / EPA

Ahead of Sunday's derby at San Siro, leaflets were distributed to supporters of Inter Milan in and around the stadium. They had been compiled by ultras, hard-core fans, and advised on how to jeer Mario Balotelli, formerly of Inter, and about to play his first match against his old club for their chief rivals, AC Milan.

"Whistle at him," the instructions read, but "avoid monkey chanting"; racist terms should not be used either, said the leaflets.

For some, the desire to used racist gestures or terms proved irresistible. For the second time in a month Inter have been fined for the racially abusive behaviour of some of their followers, yesterday's €50,000 (Dh244,000) penalty following the €15,000 imposed because of the way Balotelli was sung about during Inter's match against Chievo.

Neither sum will dent in Inter's finances. Nor do fines for racist behaviour have much effect on Lazio's vile fringe. The Rome club will today, for the third time this season come under the scrutiny of Uefa's disciplinary officers.

Lazio, fined for the abuse some of their followers directed at Tottenham Hotspur players in the Europa League, and punished again for similar offences when they played Slovenia's Maribor, now face having to play their next home leg behind closed doors, because of incidents in the last tie against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Fines are evidently an insufficient deterrent for serial offenders. If Inter offend again, the Italian league should close San Siro for their next home game too.

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