With fears over racism and violence mounting ahead of next week’s championship kick off in the wake of footage shown by the BBC’s Panorama programme, Balotelli has vowed to walk off the pitch if he is subject to any racist abuse.
“Let’s see what happens at the Euro,” the controversial Manchester City forward said. “I hope that there will not be a problem because I really can’t handle that. I cannot bear racism, it’s unacceptable for me. If it happened again I would straight away leave the pitch and go home. We are in 2012. It can’t happen.”
Former England footballer Sol Campbell, reacting to viewing the BBC footage, which showed Nazi salutes, anti-Semitic chanting and a group of Asian students being attacked on the terraces, urged England fans not to risk attending the championships in Ukraine and Poland.
The families of England stars Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have also decided not to attend the tournament for fear of being racially abused.
Poland’s interior minister has expressed his disappointment over the Panorama programme, describing it as one-sided, with Ukraine’s Euro 2012 director Markian Lubkivsky hitting back at Campbell’s comments, saying: “If Campbell has such a vision, then it is his own point of view, and it cannot be projected for the whole country.”