Monday Kickoff: Balotelli suffers more racial abuse, Swansea wins League Cup, and more

BY DAN KARELL

In his first Milan derby since his transfer to AC Milan in January, Mario Balotelli was racially abused by fans from his former club during the 1-1 match on Sunday evening.

Inter Milan fans at the San Siro waved bananas at Balotelli whenever he had possession of the ball, or was running near their section. In response, Balotelli just raised a finger to his lips, asking for quiet, and not walking off like teammate Kevin-Prince Boateng did during a friendly match in January.

Inter, who were just fined two weeks ago because of racist abuse towards Balotelli in another league match, are likely to be fined again, following a meeting today of Italian football officials.

Here are some more stories to get your Monday kicked off:

SWANSEA CITY WINS LEAGUE CUP

Welsh club Swansea City won their first ever major trophy in the club’s history on Sunday afternoon, when they beat Bradford City 5-0 to win the League Cup.

101 years and 90 minutes after their founding, Swansea was clear to celebrate amongst their fans at Wembley Stadium. Nathan Dyer and Jonathan De Guzman each scored twice for the Swans, who ended Bradford’s Cinderella run through the cup competition. It’s also Michael Laudrup’s first trophy win as a manager since he won the Danish Cup in 2005.

Swansea City are currently sitting in ninth-place in the English Premier League, and by winning the League Cup, have qualified for next season’s Europa League.

DZEKO LINKED WITH MOVE BACK TO GERMANY

Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko has been lined up for a move back to Germany, according to a report from the German publication Kicker.

Dzeko stated in the report that he would love to move back to the Bundesliga one day, through the Bosnian native denied any rumors of a transfer to Borussia Dortmund this summer. The 26-year-old has found it hard to hold down a permanent spot in the Manchester City starting XI this season.

Dzeko, who leads the team with 12 goals in the Premier League this season, won the 2008-2009 Bundesliga season with Wolfsburg.

QUICK KICKS

In a stunning report from Spain, former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has been alleged to have hired an agency to spy on his players, including Gerard Pique and his relationship with singer Shakira (REPORT)

FIFA has begun an investigation of the Zambian FA for the transfers of eight players from Finland, outside of the transfer window. (REPORT)

Former England boss Steve McClaren has been given the vote of confidence from currently club FC Twente’s chairmen, following their sixth consecutive week without a win. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Inter taking racism accusations seriously? Do you believe that Michael Laudrup will stay at Swansea past this season? Do you see Dzeko leaving this summer?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Monday Kickoff: Balotelli suffers more racial abuse, Swansea wins League Cup, and more

  1. Shane says:

    I dont get why they just dont go get the fans with the bananas and kick them out of the stadium. Fine them big time.

    • Dave says:

      If the club is serious about stopping it, whatever fine is handed to them should go directly into ticket sales, and they ought to produce a memo to all ticket holders stating their intention to make the fans pay for these fines through raised ticket prices. Maybe that causes fans around these idiots to say something next time.

      • FGB says:

        That starts with what I think is a faulty assumption, that the club (and many of these clubs generally, in Russia, Spain, Italy, and elsewhere) really are interested in stopping the racism.

        I’m not sure they are particularly concerned about it, they view it as not ideal, but not as big of a deal as probably match-fixing, or third-party player ownership or many other “issues” in soccer.

    • Kevin says:

      I think it time they start deducting points for this kind of behavior.

  2. Alex says:

    Clubs just need to be docked points. Fines don’t do anything. Frankly, I’m not sure docking points would either. But this abuse is sickening and it seems to be happening more and more.

    • Brad C says:

      make inter play in an empty stadium, hits the club’s and fan’s pocket books…

    • Jake says:

      I agree. Teams like Inter throw $15,000 around like its their job. That’s hardly an incentive for them to change…
      Dock them points and they’ll take it seriously.

  3. el paso tx says:

    No becks news on his debut, thats odd, however for all MLS fans, MLS is allegedly working on a new MLS logo and we as fans should push for a new league name as well. New logo, equals new name……….. right. Can Ives start a poll on a new league name?

    • T-lover says:

      I like the league name, LOGO change is needed. Not a new name.

      • el paso tx says:

        I say bring the new logo and if possible new name when MLS hits 20 teams and start a new era in MLS.
        How about= NAPL North America Premier League, NAUL North America United League,
        NAPS North America Premier Soccer, NAL1 North America League 1,
        NPSL National Premier Soccer League ( Im using Premier because its a widely used term in soccer for leagues) I think a soccer league name in USA needs the word soccer in it, in order to attract media attention but i think it should no be used. Look at Mexico, they just remade their league like others around the world and even added a league theme song.
        As for the logo (please dont f*ck up) use USA colors in the logo with stars and a maple leaf representing Canada and maybe colors of teams that started soccer history in both countries.

    • Jerrod says:

      Why do we need a new name?

    • Martin Blank says:

      The only reason to change the league name is if some sponsor ponies up huge amounts of cash to have the naming rights, ala Barclays. Just pump more money into the league (along with major salary cap bump). It seems like a lot of teams have had to dump good players or let them go overseas just because of the cap restrictions. Not great for the league, regardless of its name or logo.

    • Michael Stypulkoski says:

      Why in the world would we want to change the league’s name?

    • Gnarls says:

      MLS has needed a new logo since circa 2000.

      Changing the name would fix a problem that doesn’t exist. We fans are the most critical of the name, not Joe AmericanSportsfan. Most Americans associate “Major League” with top flight sports, and the goal is to grow the league’s popularity domestically. Brits and Eurosnobs will always laugh at “MLS” but Brits and Eurosnobs don’t buy tickets and jerseys.

      • solles says:

        see, what brits and eurosnobs are you referring to? ive never heard anyone from outside the US make fun of the title “MLS”. Another case of American soccer fans having a chip on their shoulder for no reason.

  4. wyofan says:

    I also don’t get why they aren’t immediately expelled by the stadium authorities. Since the home clubs aren’t doing so, they are ultimately responsible for allowing the situation to persist. Increasing point deductions for each offense would send a strong signal. UEFA needs to step in if the punishments aren’t severe enough.

    But we are talking football bureaucracy here, so really, nothing effective will be done…

  5. PapaGeorgio says:

    Walking off the field had a much better impact. Doing nothing lets the racists continue.

  6. A says:

    Dock the club points and this ends immediately.

    There, I just solved centuries of racial tension in football stadiums.

    • Jerrod says:

      Until a fan from a team in 2nd place manages to get a ticket to watch the first place team and brings along a whole bag of inflatable bananas.

  7. Gnarls says:

    FFS, why can’t Mario catch a break? More to the point, can’t Italian fans act like civilized humans?

  8. G.Bean says:

    The hooligans are using racism to get in the heads of opponents. Fine the club, and ignore the hooligans, so that they don’t get their limelight, and force the clubs to clean up their stadiums.

    They mock Balotelli with their racist antics, and think that they are not offending the black players that play for Internazionale. It puts those black players in a tight spot.

  9. Balotelli is an easy target because opposing fans know they will get a reaction out of him.. I think this is why he is racially abused. Obviously not condoning it but Balotelli is probably the biggest head case in professional sports and people poke him with a stick because they are entertained with his reactions.. If he wasn’t such a goof and wasn’t always in the spot light, I doubt he would get such abuse..

    • Gnarls says:

      Kind of sounds like you’re blaming the victim there, buddy.

      • A says:

        That’s not blaming the victim. He didn’t say Balotelli had it coming or deserved it–he was acknowledging the reality and mindset that was probably leading to it.

        • Gnarls says:

          “If he wasn’t such a goof and wasn’t always in the spot light, I doubt he would get such abuse.”

          There are plenty of other goofy players who spent their share in the spotlight, but they don’t receive racial abuse because they”re not black. There’s no excuse for racial abuse. Period.

          • A says:

            Once again, not a single person excused racial abuse. Explaining why something happens is not excusing it. It is explaining why it happens.

            • Gnarls says:

              The only explanation for why racial abuse happens is ignorance and/or hatred on the part of the abuser. Nothing Mario does causes people to shout racial epithets at him. The decision to do so falls squarely on the abuser.

      • Yeah you’re right, he’s not an easy target..

      • Jamie Z. says:

        Mario Balotelli is a brat. He’s inflammatory and dramatic. He’s irresponsible and immature. So that he’s the target for abuse should come as no surprise. And, as far as I’m concerned, it’s okay to dislike a player because of his personality. I think John Terry is a twat. I can’t even hear the name Luis Suarez without clenching my jaw. But the fact that Italy and Italian football seem to have a cultural predilection toward racial abuse is what concerns me most. Out of all of the possible ways Inter fans could channel and voice their displeasure toward a former player, the fact that they should focus on his race is the most telling. And the most discouraging.

  10. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – docking clubs points for the behavior of hooligans is an absurd idea. These people are thugs and criminals, not fans. They should be expelled from the arenas, banned for life, and prosecuted if appropriate. Docking points would be completely ineffective. In fact, it could have the opposite effect – imagine, last day of the campaign, Inter and Milan level at the top of the league, a group of enterprising Milan supporters throw on a few Inter scarves, head down to the San Siro, and throw a few racist chants around. Inter is subsequently docked points, Milan win the league. (Just an example, I don’t follow Italian soccer, not calling any team’s supporters racist, etc.)

    You can’t punish a team and its genuine fans for the actions of a few hooligans. Those people aren’t interested in results or the game in the first place, they’re only there to start trouble.

  11. ManicMessiah says:

    No one save Bayern Munich would pay Dzeko’s wages, I would think.

    As far as the Guardiola thing, I remember Keane’s autobiography talking about Ferguson having ears and eyes everywhere regarding what his players got up to around town, so it doesn’t seem an impossibility.

    Though I like it better imagining Pep as a Varys like figure, taking tidbits from his little birds,

  12. AdamFromMich says:

    I’m happy to report that Barcelona is actively recruiting me, as I have been living an “orderly life” for almost 2 decades now. Of course I’m a few years past my athletic prime, but d@mn I’m orderly. Oh wait, you’re saying I need to perform on the field AND live an orderly life? Most clubs are happy with the first requirement, but I guess Barca is special.

    You would think if they’re trying to see if their players are burning the candle at both ends that a few wind-sprints would be cheaper than a PI. Or are they worried about their image? I think Shakira is a plus for their image, but that may just be me.

  13. Raymon says:

    If Mario should get abused, it should not be for the color of his skin, but the content of his character. (with apologies to Dr. King)

  14. chris says:

    They racially abuse him because they hate him and it gets under his skin. Its just words at a stadium when emotion is high.

    As for the Barcelona story, boy do I miss the days when players would do cocaine and smoke cigars during the season. Much more interesting players back in those days

    • Jamie Z. says:

      I think you should read some of the previous posts on this topic. Overt racism is not “just words” and they’re not just doing it to “get under his skin.” It’s a serious cultural issue and there is no excuse for it, no matter whom it’s directed towards.

      As for your Barcelona comment, I’m not going to justify it by even trying to explain how stupid it was.

    • Jim says:

      Oh, I suppose it’s ok to use racism if you hate someone.

      Dude, did you think about your post before you typed?