MOSCOW, June 15 (RIA Novosti)
As many as 500 Croatian fans shouted monkey chants at Italy striker Mario Balotelli and evidence has been passed to UEFA, the Football Against Racism in Europe organization said Friday.
A photographer reportedly also saw a steward pick up a banana from near the field close to the Croatian section of the stand.
“FARE observers report between 300 and 500 supporters of Croatia involved in racially abusing Mario Balotelli at last night’s match in Poznan,” FARE, which places anti-racism observers at Euro 2012 matches, said on Twitter.
“UEFA received the observers’ reports this afternoon. We are working with them to provide as much information as possible.”
“We congratulate the Italian fans for their support of Balotelli last night. Many sang his name to drown out the monkey chants.”
UEFA has previously said it is investigating claims of racist abuse aimed at Balotelli by Spanish fans in Italy’s 1-1 draw with Spain on Sunday, and by Russian fans at Czech player Theodor Gebre Selassie last week.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.