Euro 2012: Mario Balotelli’s agent criticises Michel Platini over racism
Mario Balotelli‘s agent has criticised the Uefa president, Michel Platini, for his stance on racism and made it clear the Italy international remains determined to walk off the pitch if he is targeted at Euro 2012, amid evidence that the striker was subjected to such abuse during his country’s 1-1 draw with Spain.
Mino Raiola had not discussed the alleged abuse with Balotelli on Monday but was indignant about Platini’s declaration that the Manchester City striker would receive a yellow card if he carried out his threat to leave the field.
“I have to say that the reaction of Uefa to what Mario said was very strange and I would have expected a different reaction,” he said. “Mario has had this problem before and in Italy we have a saying: racism is ignorance.
“Mario is the kind of lad where this kind of abuse glides off his back. But I was very disappointed with what Michel Platini said and a lot of people are with me on that. I can’t say I’m surprised by the reaction, though. I don’t believe Platini has done anything to improve the game or help the position of players – as his reaction to Mario shows.”
The Italian Football Federation is not planning to making an official complaint about the alleged monkey chants from Spain’s fans, as heard by British cameramen at pitch level.
Raiola said: “I have had some meetings with the English FA about dealing with racism and the FA have been very proactive. They are ahead of other countries in Europe.”
The Italian federation’s president, Giancarlo Abete, said he believes Balotelli will recover from his disappointing display against Spain. “Balotelli made his contribution but he must try to understand the reality of playing in a major international competition in which there is no forgiveness,” Abete told Italy’s Radio Anch’io Sport. “He nevertheless put the Spanish defence under pressure. Balotelli will not allow himself to be disheartened.”
The Italy coach, Cesare Prandelli, claimed Balotelli’s substitution was not a “punishment” for a missed chance when clean through against Iker Casillas. “I had already decided to bring on [Antonio] Di Natale before the error, so it was not a punishment,” he said. “I don’t know what happened to Mario when he was alone in front of their goalkeeper. He probably had two options and in these cases a striker should only have one. He should have passed it to [fellow striker Antonio] Cassano.”