Court suspends Verona stadium closure in Balotelli case

The Associated Press

ROME (AP) -- The Italian soccer federation’s appeals court has suspended the partial stadium closure handed to Hellas Verona after its fans racially abused Mario Balotelli.

The court says an additional inquiry is needed before issuing a final decision on the case “to identify with exactness the sector where the racist chants came from, as well as their perception and dimension.”

The ruling means Verona fans will be allowed in to the "poltrone est" - the sector where the chants came from - for Sunday’s match against Fiorentina.

Balotelli, a striker for Brescia, threatened to leave the field because of the racist chants directed at him by Verona fans during a match earlier this month. The game was suspended for several minutes.

Italian soccer federation president Gabriele Gravina, who had applauded the decision by the Serie A judge to close the stadium partially, said he was “very disappointed” with the decision by the appeals court.

Verona had appealed the decision.

Meanwhile, Balotelli was reportedly sent off from a Brescia training session Thursday by coach Fabio Grosso for lack of dedication.


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