Anti-racism education charity & partners FIFPro; the International Players Union issue joint statement following reports of racism
Mario Balotelli has been the target of racism throughout his life and his professional career, and this is clearly unacceptable. SRtRC applauds Mario for continuing to report his experiences, despite the frustration he undoubtedly feels.
Show Racism the Red Card
Show Racism the Red Card are extremely disappointed about reports that Nice striker and Italian International Mario Balotelli has once again been the target of racist abuse from fans, this time from a number of SC Bastia fans.
Following the match between Balotelli's Nice & SC Bastia on Friday evening, the Italian took to Instagram to share his sadness and frustration after observing what he believed to be monkey chanting coming from a section of supporters.
Mario's account of events has been supported by team mate Alassana Plea who said "We heard monkey noises in the warm-up and during the game. A few supporters insulted him the whole game. Balotelli was very, very upset."
In an official statement, SC Bastia condemned such behaviour but also stated their surprise at the allegations as they were not mentioned by the referee or an official representative from Nice.
Mario Balotelli has been the target of racism throughout his life and his professional career, and this is clearly completely unacceptable. SRtRC applauds Mario for continuing to report his experiences, despite the frustration he undoubtedly feels.
Speaking about the alleged incident, FIFPro; the World Players Union were also quick to praise Balotelli for his bravery and condemn the actions of the fans involved:
FIFPro is sad to hear about the racist abuse Mario Balotelli suffered while playing with Olympique Nice at SC Bastia, last Friday. FIFPro is against all forms of racism and will oppose it at all times.
Football is still plagued by racism. In France, FIFPro’s 2016 Global Employment Report shows that discrimination in French football is higher compared to the worldwide average: 11% to 8%.
“We know there is a problem, now we must fight for a solution”, Tony Higgins, FIFPro’s spokesperson on anti-racism said.
“But first of all, thank you, Mario Balotelli, for speaking out and putting the problem of racism in the spotlight where it belongs. As Thierry Henry wisely recommended players in the interview he recently gave to Show Racism the Red Card, that reporting racist abuse is very important. ‘If everybody does report it, something will happen and something will change’.”
“Thierry is absolutely right. Things must change and that will only happen if we jointly address the problem and fight against it”, Higgins said.
FIFPro, speaking on behalf of all professional footballers worldwide, is of the opinion that we need to educate children and football fans about the risks of racism, discrimination and intolerance in order to fight racist or discriminatory behaviour.
Indeed, Show Racism the Red Card was founded on this very premise and continues to work with both young people & adults to explore the conditions that can lead to the development of prejudicial behaviour
Higgins added “We must engage fans and players in trying to prevent and reduce racism.”
The French Union for Professional Footballers; UNFP, immediately reacted to the incident in Bastia and also called for a collective approach: “If there is a solution - and there must be one – then we will have to look for it together and find it together!”