Milan coach slams politician's comments on Balotelli, racism

AC play Verona Saturday

Milan coach slams politician's comments on Balotelli, racism

Milan, August 23 - AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, who has become a symbol of Italian soccer's fight against racism, is at the centre of controversy on the topic again after his team's coach slammed a Verona politician for saying the footballer was actually provoking with his attitude the day before the team is scheduled to play in the town. Earlier this month Italian soccer saw its latest, and perhaps highest-profile, case of racism, when black Juventus players were targeted by Lazio fans in Juve's 4-0 Super Cup win on Sunday. At the time, Balotelli said that it was impossible to delete racism. "It's like a cigarette. You can't stop smoking if you don't want to, and you can't stop racism if people don't want to. But I'll do everything I can to help". "Balotelli's not the one being racist, it is about the lack of culture that still persists in Italy", said Milan coach Milan Allegri on Friday, in response to comments made by Flavio Tosi, the mayor of the Northern city of Verona on Thursday, when he said "Balotelli? It would be opportune for him to provoke less". Tosi is a prominent member of the anti-immigrant Northern League, which has targeted Congolese-born Immigration Minister Cecile Kyenge with insults including comparing her to an orangutan. Milan start their Serie A campaign on Saturday at Hellas Verona, whose stadium has often rung to racist taunts. Allegri said the team and Balotelli were focusing on playing well.

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