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racism in italian football

Mayor of Padova Apologises To Lazio Striker Keita Balde Over Racist Abuse

Balde was the target of monkey chants during Lazio’s pre-season friendly with Padova on Wednesday evening, and the city mayor has now apologised for the incident.

by UK Sports Staff
22 July 2016, 11:11am

EPA Images/Filip Singer

The mayor of Padova has apologised to Lazio's Keita Balde, after the young striker was racially abused during a pre-season friendly on Wednesday evening.

Keita was subjected to monkey chants from a section of Padova supporters and, though the match was not abandoned, the abuse did not go unnoticed. Massimo Bitonci, the city mayor, wrote on Facebook that he was "sorry to see certain individuals shame the whole city."

He added: "Sport is passion, community and friendship... I was sorry to see certain people shame the city and the genuine fans in the stadium, too. I apologise to Keita on their behalf."

The incident has draw parallels with the racist abuse received by Kevin Prince-Boateng during a friendly between AC Milan and Pro Patria in 2013, which led to him walking off the pitch in protest. Keita, who was born in Spain to Senegalese parents, remained on the pitch and helped his side to record a 2-1 victory over their lower-league opponents.