30/05/2012 04:30 BST | Updated 30/05/2012 05:13 BST

Mario Balotelli Warns Euro 2012 Racists: 'Throw A Banana At Me And I'll Kill You'

Mario Balotelli, the headline-grabbing Manchester City and Italy striker, has issued a warning to anyone who racially abuses him at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

"Racism is unacceptable to me, I cannot bear it. We are in 2012, it can't happen.

"If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to prison because I will kill him," he told the BBC's Panorama programme.

mario balotelli

Racism at Euro 2012 has become a huge concern for footballers and fans

Race relations during the tournament have been at the centre of debate this week after former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell hit out at racists and warned supporters not to travel to the competition.

"Stay at home, watch it on TV, don't even risk it - because you could end up coming back in a coffin," he said.

He also criticised Uefa for awarding the countries the month-long event.

"I think that they were wrong, because what they should say is that 'if you want this tournament, you sort your problems out. Until we see a massive improvement... you do not deserve these prestigious tournaments in your country.'"

sol cambell

Sol Campbell hit out at Uefa for awarding Euro 2012 to the two host countries

Campbell was also speaking as part of Panorama's investigation into racism which showed footage of anti-semitism and violence influenced by racial prejudice in Ukraine's football stadiums.

But yesterday, Ukraine's Euro 2012 director hit back at Campbell labelling him "insolent".

Event director Markian Lubkivsky said: "We are getting ready for the great football festival.

"To be honest, from the Uefa point of view, I don't see any dangers for citizens of different nationalities to stay in Ukraine."

"If the player Campbell has such a vision, than it is his own point of view, and it can not be projected for the whole country.

Only 5,000 England supporters are expected to travel to Eastern Europe for the Euros next month - the lowest turnout of travelling English fans for a major tournament in decades.

The families of two of the Three Lions' black players selected for the tournament - Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - have confirmed they will not make the trek east due to fears over racism and violence.

The Foreign Office meanwhile has specifically told Asian and black supporters to take extra caution in Ukraine and Poland.