The mayor of Verona has insisted “there were no racist chants” aimed at Mario Balotelli and that his city is the victim of a witch-hunt.

Balotelli was racially abused by Verona fans during Brescia’s 2-1 defeat at the Bentegodi on Sunday, and the FIGC will decide whether to punish the Gialloblu today.

Despite that, Federico Sboarina appeared to side with ultras leader Luca Castellini, who trivialised the incident in a controversial interview.

“It seems like the sentence has already been written in stone,” Sboarina told ANSA.

“Objectively, what’s happening to our city is unacceptable.

“I reiterate, I was at the stadium yesterday and everyone seemed astonished when Balotelli kicked the ball away. No-one could explain it.

“Therefore, there can only be the assumption that it doesn’t exist because there were no racist chants at the stadium.

“A fan base and city are being put to shame.”

This video, uploaded by a Verona fan, has clearly audible ‘monkey noises’ just before Balotelli kicks the ball into the stands.

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