The problem of racism in Italian football goes far deeper than Serie A, which was seen again this past weekend in Lombardia.
Just a matter of hours before Mario Balotelli was racially abused while playing for Brescia away to Hellas Verona, there was an incident not so far away in a game involving ten-year-old children.
In Brianza, at the foot of the alps, a youngster playing for Aurora Desio Calcio was abused by an opposing player’s mother as they faced Sovicese.
“Black s**t,” she shouted from the side of the pitch.
Remarkably, the youth showed a level-headedness that shamed his elder abuser, and played on without showing any signs of being affected by the vile outburst.
Afterwards, the child spoke to his coaches about the incident and other players and coaches admitted to having heard it as well.
Aurora Desio responded with a Facebook post, writing “this is not a nightmare, it’s a very sad reality”.
“Shameless, without a brain” they said of the mother.
“The victim? A 10-year-old child. Ten.”
An investigation has been opened into who is responsible for the abuse, but both clubs are working on moving forward.
Their response, though, perhaps highlights that more still needs to be done in Italy in offering more insight on racial insensitivity.
The two clubs are set to come face to face again this coming weekend, this time with teenagers of 17 and 18 taking to the pitch, and they have both agreed to play the game with their faces painted black.
A well-meaning gesture, but it’s one that falls some way wide of the mark and it shows just how much more education is needed around the issue in Italy.