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Kick It Out blast Balotelli's yellow for highlighting racist chanting


Baffled: Mario Balotelli was cautioned by the referee
Baffled: Mario Balotelli was cautioned by the referee

By Matt Slater

Mario Balotelli's booking for complaining about alleged racist chanting during Nice's defeat at Dijon on Saturday has been described as "unacceptable and wrong" by anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out.

The former Manchester City, Liverpool and Italy striker was seen gesturing to the crowd while talking to referee Nicolas Rainville during the second half of the Ligue 1 match only to then be cautioned for his actions.

Nice later tweeted a picture of Rainville booking Balotelli with a caption that said he was given the yellow card for "getting annoyed with racist insults from the public".

In a statement, Kick It Out said they were "shocked" to see the 27-year-old receive a booking for trying to inform an official about racist chanting.

"It is unacceptable and wrong to see that once again, a match official has failed to apply the Uefa protocol - in place for a number of years - which requires action to be taken to stop the game to deal with the offending abuse," read the statement

"Although Kick It Out's remit is within English football, the organisation has contacted anti-discrimination network Football Against Racism in Europe to see what actions they will be taking.

"The organisation expects a strong response from the French football authorities in condemning both the alleged racist chanting from Dijon supporters and the failure of the referee to follow protocol to halt the behaviour, as well as the decision to compound Balotelli's experience by booking him."

Nice were 2-1 ahead at the time of the incident but conceded two late goals to lose 3-2, dropping them to eighth in the Ligue 1 table.

French news agency AFP later reported that the league's governing body the LFP will discuss Balotelli's case as part of its weekly disciplinary commission on Thursday evening.

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