Manchester City have reported to Uefa that some of their players were racially abused during their Europa League match against Porto.
Striker Mario Balotelli informed officials of various incidents during City’s 2-1 win at the Dragão stadium before his second half substitution. City’s media officers told BBC Radio 5 Live - airing live commentary of the match - at half time that they had suspected that Yaya Touré and Balotelli had both been victims of racial abuse emanating from the Porto support.
When withdrawn in the 78th minute for eventual matchwinner Sergio Agüero, Balotelli was subjected to a cacophony of noise, and informed club officials that he had heard monkey noises. Any mention of City’s complaints have hitherto not appeared on the UEFA website however.
Roberto Mancini, the blues’ manager, confessed that he didn’t hear any of the reported abuse because he was “concentrating on the game”.
Touré, who returned after a month-long absence playing in the African Cup of Nations, was adamant that offensive chants were aired from the stands. He spoke of his admiration for the Premier League because “it (racism) never happens there”, perhaps forgetting events this season.
Earlier this month the Citizens’ right-back Micah Richards closed his Twitter account having received racial abuse, and Thursday night's occurrences are another chapter in a campaign marred by the topic.
In December, Liverpool forward Luis Suárez was suspended for eight games and received a £40,000 for racially abusing Patrice Evra when Liverpool faced Manchester United at Anfield in October. A week later John Terry was reported for allegedly racially insulting Anton Ferdinand during Queens Park Rangers' win over Chelsea at Loftus Road, with the ex-England captain's trial date set for July by the Crown Prosecution Service.
City will host Porto for their round-of-16 return leg at Eastlands on Wednesday 22 February.
Legendary football journalist Simon Kuper suggested recently that English football is its own worst enemy over racism:
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