EURO Diary: Politician in Trouble for Racist Balotelli Poster


by Dominic John

Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli is no stranger to the limelight, usually for not so great reasons. His mouth has almost become more infamous than his scoring ability.

This being said an Italian Politician has sparked controversy with his comments and his horrible sense of humor through photoshop.

Ciani’s poster is culturally insensitive and racist in the context of Italy’s African immigrants


Paolo Ciani is seen as a right wing politician in his native Italy. He is a member of the Futuro e Libertà (Future & Liberty) party, a socially conservative right wing breakaway from Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi.

Paolo Ciani thought that he would express his frustration towards Balotelli via his Facebook page. He stated that he was upset at the way Balotelli was expressing his anger over how he was being fouled during the match vs. Ireland last week, and then in the same breath used his platform during his goal celebration to rant even more.

So what? Do you know Mario?

Let him speak. He’s a big boy, let him get himself into trouble. Sure his outburst in an International jersey and world stage wouldn’t be good for Italy, but Ciani’s comments have brought even more opprobrium.

However it wasn’t so much Ciani’s words as a photoshopped picture he posted that attracted national and now international attention.

Ciani posted a picture of Balotelli picking cabbage in a field as most immigrants of African descent do in Italy. It is one of the few ways open to them when they arrive in the country without any other job qualifications. It was a stereotype of a talented athlete which Ciani would never have produced for a white Italian.

Along with the picture he said of Balotelli:

“He commits a foul worthy of a red card, scores, then unleashes a verbal onslaught against the bench forcing them to shut him up. This clown should go work in the fields.”

In isolation, one could dismiss it as another irritating outburst from an attention seeking politician. But no act of racism exists in isolation at EURO2012.

To date, UEFA has issued a number of fines in the amount of $505,000. Fines have been handed out for a multitude of reasons not all racism

Puzzlingly, some of those fines were far less than the 100,000 Euros which Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner was fined for exposing underwear that was considered to have illegal advertisements on them for an Irish betting company.

The Russian Football Federation has had to pay around 150,000 Euros for two separate incidents. One was handed down for Russian fans throwing fireworks onto the pitch during a match against the Czech Republic, and another for having displayed banners at the game with some not so pleasant words for the world, especially its Polish population, to see.

Soccer has recently been one of the front running sports to ban racism. It’s hard to fathom that we live in the 21st century where the leader of the free world is black, yet we still have people like Ciani in forms of power and government.

Let’s hope that future generations can show love for one another as they have love for this game as opposed to providing a focus for screwball politicians whose thinly veiled racism would see them ostracised in any other cultural arena.


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