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May 29, 2013

Chiellini: Abuse not always racist

Italy's Giorgio Chiellini says that racist chanting from fans in his country is intolerable.

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini believes players need to better distinguish racist chants from personal abuse thrown from the terraces.

And the 28-year-old Italian international disagrees that offended players should not take matters into their own hands by walking off the field.

Racism has again reared its ugly head in recent times with Chiellini's Azzurri team-mate Mario Balotelli reportedly often targeted by opposing supporters.

However, it was the actions of Balotelli's club –mate, Kevin Prince-Boateng, who walked off the field after allegedly being the victim of racist chants, that created many headlines earlier in the season.

But Chiellini said players were too quick to distinguish racism from what he labelled "personal abuse".

"You have to distinguish racism from personal abuse. Everyone has things chanted at them, that's normal, but racist chants must be left outside," he told figc.it.

"If I hear a chant against Balotelli that isn't racist, it's wrong but it should be accepted. It's another matter if the chant is racist, but even then you should not make the decision to leave the field.

"There are other people who should make that decision."

Chiellini also weighed into the expulsion of his international team-mate Pablo Osvaldo from Italy manager Cesare Prandelli's squad, agreeing with his national manager's view that misbehaviour at club level should influence a players chances at international level.

Osvaldo was kicked out of the Italy team after reports surfaced claiming the striker abused his Roma manager, Aurelio Andreazzoli during the club's 1-0 loss to Lazio in the Coppa Italia final.

Andreazzoli then dismissed Osvaldo's actions as "snivelling", leading Osvaldo to publicly mock his coach while questioning his loyalty.

"I'm always sorry when one of our colleagues is absent but the coach has to make these choices and we respect them," Chiellini said. "It's nothing to do with us.

"Osvaldo has always behaved well with us and we will welcome him back with open arms if he returns.

"The code of ethics is something the federation has been using for three years. We hold great responsibility and are a point of reference for thousands of people, especially children.

"We just have to think about playing and respect these decisions without getting involved."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.