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Inter Milan face UEFA investigation over racism allegations

Serie A club Inter were fined 50,000 euros last month after their fans racially abused their former player Mario Balotelli in a derby with AC Milan

Reuters, Tuesday 19 Mar 2013
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Inter Milan risk disciplinary proceedings after their fans were accused of racist behavior during the Europa League last 16 clash at home to Tottenham Hotspur, UEFA said on Monday.

A statement from European soccer's governing body said the Serie A club were under investigation for "racist behavior of supporters, insufficient organization and the throwing of missiles and/or fireworks".

Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who scored his side's away goal in a 4-1 defeat in Thursday's second leg, was allegedly subjected to monkey chants and plastic bananas were waved in one section of the half-empty San Siro.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas, whose team went through on away goals after the 4-4 aggregate score, told reporters after the game that it was "very easy" to hear the chanting and said he hoped UEFA would act.

Last month, Inter were fined 50,000 euros ($65,300) by the Italian league after fans racially abused their former player Mario Balotelli in a derby with AC Milan.

Meanwhile Lazio, who have a long-standing right wing element among their support, were ordered by UEFA to play two European matches behind closed doors after racism by their fans in Europa League matches against Tottenham, Maribor and Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Italian authorities have long been criticized by anti-racism campaigners for not cracking down hard enough on discrimination in sport.

Italy had appeared to have finally got to grips with its soccer racism problem in January when Milan's Kevin-Prince Boateng stormed off the field in a friendly against lower league side Pro Patria following abuse from the stands.

The encounter was abandoned, Boateng was praised across the Italian and world game while Pro Patria were ordered to play their next home match in an empty stadium.

The following week, the government's watchdog for sports events (ONMS) said Italian public security officials will be given the power to stop or interrupt soccer matches in the case of racist behavior by fans.

The ONMS said that, in cases of racism, the referee should alert the fourth official who should in turn report the incident to the public security department responsible for policing at games. ($1 = 0.7654 euros)

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