Italian club Verona’s partial one-match stadium closure for racist chants directed at Brescia striker Mario Balotelli in a Serie A game earlier this month was suspended on appeal Thursday.
The Italian Football Federation’s (FIGC) disciplinary commission had ordered Verona to host Fiorentina on Sunday with the “Poltrone Est” section of their Bentegodi Stadium closed.
It followed racist chanting directed towards Italian international Balotelli during his team’s 2-1 defeat on November 3 in Verona.
Despite denials of abuse from Verona, a video published on Twitter by a fan showed a number of supporters abusing Balotelli before the forward kicked the ball at them in the stands and threatened to walk off the pitch.
But the FIGC’s appeals court on Thursday said they had suspended the sanction, pending further investigation.
“We are satisfied, we have highlighted various inconsistencies and we look forward to the outcome of the investigation, naturally hoping for a final favourable decision,” said Verona’s Operations Director Francesco Barresi, adding that it had been “an absolute injustice to blame an entire sector”.
“We are waiting for all our fans on Sunday at the stadium with the additional support of almost 1,000 children from the School Project, as has happened on previous occasions.
“These little fans will be present with banners and slogans against all discrimination.”
Meanwhile, Balotelli was sent home from training on Thursday after a bust-up with new Brescia coach Fabio Grosso, according to reports in Italy.
Ex-World Cup winner Grosso, who took over after Eugenio Corini was sacked following the defeat by Verona, was reportedly angered by Balotelli’s lazy start to training.
Balotelli headed straight for the dressing room, before driving away from the training centre, Gazzetta Dello Sport reported.
Brescia are bottom of the Serie A table and travel to Roma on Sunday looking for their first win in two months.
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