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Dec 2, 2013

No proof of Spolli racism to Balotelli

Lipreading experts have been unable to determine if Catania defender Nicolas Spolli racially abused Mario Balotelli in Sunday's 3-1 win for the Rossoneri in Sicily.

Nicolas Spolli and Mario Balotelli exchange words during AC Milan's win at Catania.
Nicolas Spolli and Mario Balotelli exchange words during AC Milan's win at Catania.

Balotelli was in no doubt that he had been racially insulted, pointing the finger at the Argentinean and warning him not to use such words. Referee Nicola Rizzoli was first on the scene to separate the pair with the Milan striker substituted shortly afterwards.

Teammate Kaka led Balotelli away, but he was unable to provide any further insight into what language had been used by Spolli.

"I didn't hear what he said because I arrived afterwards and saw how wound up Mario was, so I told him to calm down because he's important for the side," Kaka said. "He scored a goal once again and he's happier now, things are starting to go his way again."

Balotelli has yet to give his version of events, although Catania coach Luigi De Canio is sure there was nothing untoward in what his player said.

"To be honest, I didn't notice anything," he said. "I've only known Spolli for a short time, but he's a very good lad. I think it was just a misunderstanding and not a racial insult."

The Lega Serie A disciplinary panel is nonetheless set to investigate the incident with Spolli facing a ban of 10 matches if the accusation is proven, as a result of strict new anti-racism rules.

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