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Jan 15, 2010

Juve stand closed for one match after racist chants

Juventus have been ordered to close a stand for next week's home Serie A match against AS Roma after some of their fans sang a racist chant in Wednesday's Italian Cup win over Napoli.

The 'Curva Sud' (south end stand) will be shut after fans occupying that area of Juve's stadium "directed a chant formed of expressions of racial discrimination at another team's player" in the 3-0 victory, the Italian Soccer League said in a statement on Friday.

A group of the Turin club's fans sang "there are no black Italians", a chant that cost them a stadium ban last season when directed at Inter Milan forward Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli, an Italy Under-21 forward of Ghanaian descent, is frequently the victim of abuse from fans of Juventus and other teams.

The league's sporting judge said he had taken account of the fact that the chant came from only one section of the ground and was not repeated.

He said Juventus's cooperation with the authorities to prevent such episodes taking place was also considered when deciding the punishment.

Italian media reported that if fans from the 'Curva Sud' buy tickets for the opposite end of Turin's Stadio Olimpico there is a risk they could clash violently with rival followers of the same team.

Racism is a major problem in Italian football and a number of clubs have been fined recently for offensive chants.

Juventus were fined 10,000 euros when their supporters sang the "no black Italians" chant at a game last month.

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