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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Prandelli sorry for 'colour' comment

Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has found himself in hot water after letting slip a racially charged comment about star striker Mario Balotelli at the Confederations Cup, according to the BBC.

• Brewin: Italy-Brazil preview
• Pirlo out for Italy

Balotelli was given special permission to attend a charity event despite the rest of the squad being confined to their hotel rooms as anti-government riots that have engulfed the nation continued to rage on the streets.

But when explaining the AC Milan striker's time away during a hostile period, Prandelli told reporters: "He was the only one who had permission because his colour is a little different than ours."

The 55-year-old would later apologise before clarifying his comment as a joke.

"I'm sorry. It was a joke. Of course," he told the BBC.

Later it was revealed Balotelli was allowed out so he could continue his charity work, helping children from some of the poorest parts of Salvador.

"Before I said something about the colour of our skin," added Prandelli. "I am glad we clarified that issue about why he was the only one allowed out.

"He was surrounded by all these people but he was working with a charity and doing something nice."

Italy face Brazil on Saturday for the chance to win Group A, but with the protests becoming increasing violent, there are rumours that the competition may be cancelled.

But despite admitting Italy had no intention of leaving the completion early, Prandelli did fear violent protestors were becoming an issue.

"Going home is not something we are thinking about," he said.

"But during the days we have been in Brazil the situation has changed from Rio, when we could visit the city with no problems. Here we have been forbidden from leaving the hotels.

"All peaceful demonstrations that can foster the improvement of a country are welcome. When they turn to violence they worry us.

"There are so many people, it is difficult to control those who don't want to demonstrate in a civil manner."