UEFA probes chants against Balotelli
UEFA have announced they are to investigate allegations of racist chanting directed at Mario Balotelli during Sunday’s Euro 2012 draw between Italy and Spain in Gdansk.
Fans’ Embassy of Football Supporters Europe (FSE) have detailed the abuse Balotelli received from Spain supporters and UEFA have decided to launch an inquiry into that game, plus Russia’s encounter with the Czech Republic on Friday.
"Following the provision of new independent information today, regarding the two cases of alleged racist chanting in the Spain-Italy and Russia-Czech Republic matches, UEFA is now conducting further investigations," UEFA said in a statement.
"There are, however, no disciplinary proceedings opened at this moment in time."
It is the latest in a sequence of events that make uncomfortable reading ahead of a potentially powerkeg encounter between co-hosts Poland and Russia in Warsaw on Tuesday evening.
Holland skipper Marc van Bommel was the first to complain of racist chanting during a training session in Krakow.
Trouble at Russia’s encounter with the Czech Republic followed before the alleged taunts at Balotelli, who had previously claimed he would walk off the pitch if he heard anything to that effect.
On Monday, Italy manager Cesare Prandelli rejected claims that Balotelli had been abused.
"That’s absolutely untrue," he said.
However, eye witnesses said the abuse was clear.
Thomas Herzog, member of the FSE Fans Embassy team for Spanish supporters, said: "We were present during the match inside the football stadium and stayed inside the stand of the Spanish supporters over the entire course of the match.
"At some point during the match then, about 200 supporters started monkey chants when the Italian player Mario Balotelli touched the ball."
A massive police presence was already guaranteed in Warsaw this evening when a large number of Russia fans intend walking to the stadium in honour of Russia Day.
This is likely to be viewed as a provocative measure by the home supporters given Poland spent 44 years under Russian control following the end of World War II.