EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

French league investigates racial abuse towards Mario Balotelli at Dijon

During the game, the Nice forward was booked for gesticulating angrily at the crowd.

French football authorities on Monday, said that they are looking into allegations by Nice forward Mario Balotelli that he “heard monkey chants directed at him” during a defeat at Dijon on Saturday.

The French League (LFP) said “the case will be studied on Thursday by the disciplinary commission” but added that it doesn’t have any other evidence at this stage. Balotelli was booked for gesticulating angrily at the crowd in the game on Saturday. He then complained to the referee that he had been subjected to racist abuse.

Nice had posted a message on Twitter during the match claiming Balotelli had “picked up a yellow card after... getting annoyed at fans’ racist abuse”.

British organisation Kick It Out, which campaigns against discrimination, weighed in with a statement saying it “was shocked to see Mario Balotelli booked for bringing to the attention of the referee alleged racist chanting directed towards him by Dijon supporters”.

Kick It Out said it “expects a strong response from the French football authorities”. Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere said Balotelli, whose biological parents are from Ghana, has “all our support”.

“We deplore the fact that Mario has again had to suffer racist abuse,” he said. “It’s unforgivable, and let’s not forget that it is unfortunately not the first time in our league.”

Last season Bastia were hit with a suspended one-point deduction and three-game partial stand closure by the French League over the behaviour of some of their fans.

The club cancelled the season ticket of one fan in his 40s while a court in Bastia handed the supporter a two-month suspended prison sentence, a €1,000 fine and an 18-month stadium ban. Balotelli was also targeted while playing for both Inter Milan and AC Milan in his homeland.

During Euro 2012, UEFA punished the Croatian Football federation and investigated Spain following racist abuse directed at Balotelli by fans. In 2014 British police investigated offensive remarks directed at Balotelli, who has played for both Manchester City and Liverpool, on Twitter.

(With inputs from AFP)

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.

Play

The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.