Balotelli chants raise temperature ahead of Juve-Inter(Agence France-Presse)

ROME — Just two weeks away from the eagerly-anticipated top-of-the-table 'derby of Italy' between Inter Milan and Juventus a new racism row is brewing.

The corresponding fixture last season at Turin's Olympic stadium saw sections of Juve fans racially abusing Inter's Italian striker of Ghanaian origin Mario Balotelli.

The teenager had annoyed the crowd with some typically impetuous actions on the pitch but Juventus's failure to take active measures to put a halt to the chants saw them penalised and forced to play their next home match behind closed doors.

Balotelli has since become Juve fans' favourite villain and is often the target of abuse.

On Sunday night during the 1-0 home win against Udinese, some sections chanted: "se saltelli muore Balotelli".

Roughly that translates as: if you jump up and down Balotelli will die.

While not actually racist in its content it was certainly distasteful and dredged up unpleasant memories from last season.

Juventus, possibly worried by the implications of the chant, responded by announcing over the loudspeaker: "no to racism", and will be keen to point out that they are eager supporters of Unesco's 'kick racism out of football' campaign.

And while they will almost certainly escape punishment for this episode it will leave a sour taste in the mouth and cannot but stoke the fires of an already bitter rivalry.

All parties were quick to condemn the chants with Juve's Malian midfielder Momo Sissoko saying after the game: "It's absurd chanting against a player who isn't even on the pitch.

"I hope certain things won't happen again," he said referring to the racist chants of last year.

Juve boss Ciro Ferrara was more reserved in his response, making an allusion to chants directed against him and his team-mates during his time at Napoli, relating to the fact that Naples is close to the Vesuvius volcano.

"I am against any kinds of insults and racial discrimination but if you go to football matches it shouldn't shock you, these are chants that you hear in all stadiums," he said.

"I was a player and I remember the chant: Vesuvius burnt everyone. I remember it and it hurt.

"It's true the fans pay to come in but that doesn't give them the right to offend."

Two reasons suggest that Juventus will not face a penalty for these latest chants, firstly that they did try to do something about it and secondly the chants were very different in nature from those of last year: "a black man can't be Italian."






Juventus docs face 3 month ban for doping offenses(Associated Press)

TURIN, Italy — The Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping commission has recommended that two doctors with soccer club Juventus be banned for three months for doping violations.

Bartolomeo Goitre and Luca Stefanini stand accused of breaking Italy's anti-doping code, a note on CONI's Web site said on Thursday.

In October the pair were held responsible for Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro failing a doping test. Cannavaro was given medicine containing cortisone after he was bitten by a mosquito, but failed to submit the required extenuating circumstances form.





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