Fan who aimed chants at Balotelli banned from sports events

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              Lazio's Danilo Cataldi and Brescia's Mario Balotelli, left, vie for the ball during the Italian Series A soccer match between Brescia and Lazio at the Mario Rigamonti stadium in Brescia, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. (Gianluca Checchi/LaPresse via AP)
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VERONA, Italy (AP) — A Sicilian man was banned from European sports events for five years Thursday for directing racist chants at Brescia striker Mario Balotelli.

Verona police issued the ruling after reviewing evidence from the Hellas Verona-Brescia game on Nov. 3.

The 38-year-old man was also barred from frequenting areas that fans pass through on match days.

Balotelli angrily kicked a ball high into the stands and threatened to leave the field because of the racist chants directed at him during the game in Verona, which was suspended for several minutes.

Balotelli, who is black, was also subjected to racist chants by Lazio fans during a game last weekend.

Balotelli was born in Italy to Ghanaian immigrants and has represented the Italian national team. He recently returned to Serie A after several seasons in France.