Prandelli backs Balotelli amid racism claims

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Should Mario Balotelli be on the receiving end of any racial abuse during the European Championships, Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has vowed to support the Manchester City striker.

In a recent interview with France Football, Balotelli insisted he would refuse to play and would walk off the pitch if he was subject to any racial abuse in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

However, in a show of solidarity, Prandelli has promised that should there be any unsavoury scenes at Euro 2012, the whole Italy squad will show their support and back their 21-year-old frontman.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Prandelli said: "In the case that Balotelli is a target of racial boos, we will all step out on the pitch from the bench.

"We will do something for Mario should that case arise."

Following a recent BBC Panorama special that highlighted potential racial issues in host countries Ukraine and Poland, the matter of racism has reared its ugly head once again.

Whilst the footballing world has been unanimous in its condemnation of any form of racism in all aspects of the game, it's almost impossible to deny that this social issue is one that still needs to be tackled head on.

Football's top officials will be hoping that this summer's Euro 2012 championship passes without incident, and that all the talking is done on the pitch, rather than off it.

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