Dunga, Italian media rebuke racism in stadiums

Dunga, Italian media rebuke racism in stadiums Rome - Brazil's football team coach Dunga on Monday took a firm stand against the racist chants that Juventus fans aimed at Inter Milan black striker Mario Balotelli at the weekend.

Dunga spent the weekend in Italy to watch some Brazilian internationals playing in the Italian Serie A.

"Racism is a bad thing," he said, "but in football we feel it more because there are players from all over the world. People want to blow off steam, but they do it in a wrong way.

"Football must take proper measures to fight racism. The world today is globalized."

Juventus president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli apologized for the behaviour of Turin fans, who repeatedly booed Balotelli during the showdown that Inter drew 1-1 after taking the lead through a goal from the striker.

The Milanese title holders virtually secured a fourth straight scudetto as they hold a 10-point lead on Juve and AC Milan with six games left.

Massimo Moratti, the Inter president, was quoted as saying he would have called back his team had he been at the stadium.

Balotelli, 18, is an Italian footballer born in Palermo to a Ghanaian family. When he was 3, he was adopted by an Italian family and grew up near Brescia, where he quickly displayed good football skills.

His undisputed talent has made him a mainstay in Italy's youth team and he has often been fielded this season by Inter coach Jose Mourinho.

Balotelli has received criticism for a bully behaviour that he has admitted and that dented his reputation among other players and opposing fans.

"My character is like this," he said. "If I'm provoked, I don't always react, maybe I complain. The others (opponents) know it's a weak spot in my character and they provoke me. I know I must improve this."

Juve defender Nicola Legrottaglie said he didn't feel like complimenting Balotelli.

"I don't want to be a moralist, but in the first half Balotelli twice kicked me from behind off the ball (one instance was shown in a television replay)," Legrottaglie said.

"He has an attitude that, in my opinion, he should avoid. He's a great champion and he has no need to behave like this."

La Repubblica commentator Gianni Mura Monday called the chants "a national shame" and noted that Balotelli "has a bully attitude, he doesn't respect anyone, a thing which Mourinho likes, but should worry him instead. He must learn to be a professional and not waste his talent."

Mura, however, also observed that the young player's provocative acts may reflect a need to defend himself.

The idiot chants, Mura wrote, should meet severe sanctions, including heavy fines to clubs and games without public, while the European body UEFA should also intervene to crush a problem that often crops up in other countries. (dpa)