Mario Balotelli subjected to racist monkey chants at Bastia
Nice dropped points for the second week running and has now only won one of its last seven games. The 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Bastia, though, could have other consequences after Mario Balotelli posted his thoughts on racist abuse he received from Bastia fans on Instagram.
"Is it normal that Bastia supporters make monkey noise end 'uh uh' for the whole game and no one of the 'commissions discipline' say nothing? So is racism LEGAL in France? Or only in Bastia? Football is an amazing sport .. those people like Bastia supporters make it horrible!" Balotelli wrote.
Nice had not complained to the Football League, the LFP, about the chants but the story took on a life of its own when BeIn Sports, which aired the game, dug out footage of fans making monkey noises in the direction of Balotelli and his teammates during the pre-match warmup.
The Football League issued a vague statement saying it will investigate; once it saw the footage, a new statement was released, condemning the insults "with the utmost firmness." Bastia then countered with a furious statement suggesting these claims were harming the fine standing of the club’s name. This is a standing that has seen repeated crowd problems over the years. Last year, a game was postponed after 100 people attacked a Corsican police station with Molotov cocktails following a Bastia game.
The LFP will investigate the claims later this week; it seems like a stadium ban is the most likely outcome. Is the story over? You’d think so, but this is Balotelli we are talking about. Which means, for some reason, it's not that simple.
A former Bastia defender, Julien Palmeri, defended his former club and suggested that Balotelli was looking for excuses after a poor game. That was not smart. Footage has also been released showing Bastia boss Francois Ciccolini saying to Balotelli in the tunnel: “Who the f**k do you think you are? Do you know where you are?” Balotelli, however, has behaved in an exemplary fashion. As he might well ask himself: "Why Always Me?"