Mario Balotelli has said he will kill anyone who is racist to him during Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine next week.
The Manchester City striker, who has threatened to walk off the pitch if he experiences racism during the tournament, said:
If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to prison because I will kill him.
Former England player Ian Wright, however, wrote in the Sun today:
I am begging him (Balotelli) not to do this. Otherwise, the racists will have won and the many people who have fought against racism around the world have died in vain
Following the BBC’s Panorama show about racism and violence in those countries, there has been increasing concern about the safety of black players during the tournament.
England players Theo Walcott and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain have already confirmed that their families will not be attending the Euro 2012 and instead will watch the game from home.
Retired England player Sol Campbell has also advised families not to attend. He said:
Stay at home, watch it on TV. Don’t even risk it… because you could end up coming back in a coffin
He went onto say that UEFA should not have chosen the countries to host the event in the first place.
Campbell believes that instead they should have said:
If you want this tournament, you sort your problems out. Until we see a massive improvement… you do not deserve these prestigious tournaments in your country
The tournament begins on the 8th June.