Mayor sorry after Lazio's Keita Balde suffers racist abuse at Padova

Keita Balde is a Senegal international.

The mayor of the Italian city of Padua has apologised to Lazio’s Keita Balde after he was subjected to racist chanting during a recent friendly in the city.

Keita was making his first appearance of preseason for the Biancocelesti and his performance against third-division side Padova, with an assist and earning a penalty, would normally have taken the headlines, but it was instead the behaviour of several hundred of the home fans which overshadowed that.

Massimo Bitonci, the mayor of the northern Italy city, has posted a message on Facebook apologising to the 21-year-old for the behaviour of that group of people, who directed racial taunts in Keita’s direction.

“Sport is about passion, sharing and friendship,” he wrote. “I am sorry to note, as a sportsman and a mayor, that yesterday certain people shamed the whole city and, in particular, the true fans present at the stadium.

“I would like to apologise to Lazio footballer Keita on their behalf.”

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

The original version of this story which was published by ESPN can be viewed here.

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