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Balotelli warned against walk-off protest
May 17, 2013 3:16 PM EST
Mario Balotelli faces dismissal if he walks off in protest at racist chanting, the head of the Italian Referees Association has declared.
The Milan striker said earlier in the week that he would walk off the pitch if he was subjected to racist abuse from opposing fans.
Balotelli has been the target of chants from fans of Roma and Inter among others, but the head of referees in Italy confirmed the former Manchester City striker would be dismissed if he carried out his threat to exit the field of play.
He told Italian news service SkyTG24: "Everyone is free to express their own opinions but there are rules. Whoever leaves the field to make a protest, without warning the referee or without being substituted will be sent off."
Balotelli's previous comments came after he was targeted by Roma supporters during Milan's 0-0 draw at San Siro last Sunday, with referee Gianluca Rocchi forced to bring play to halt to enable the visiting fans to calm down.
"If it happens one more time, I'm going to leave the pitch, because it's so stupid," Balotelli said.
He added: "I was about to leave the pitch on Sunday but they are going to think that I wanted to leave because maybe we had some difficulty with the game.
"I said it's better we play and then we talk, but if it wasn't for this reason I was going to leave the pitch."