Mario Balotelli: AC Milan official accused of using racist language
AC Milan's vice-president has been accused of using racist language to describe new signing Mario Balotelli.
Italian media said Paolo Berlusconi made the comments at a political rally as he invited the audience to watch the £19m buy from Manchester City play.
The remarks were filmed and posted on the La Repubblica website, prompting criticism of Berlusconi, brother of club president Silvio.
"His remarks were couched in shocking terms. There's been no reaction yet from Balotelli, who's a star of Italy's national side. He received a rapturous welcome from fans here after he left Manchester City and signed for AC Milan. Just a few weeks ago the Italian club was involved in a row over racism of a very different kind. The side walked off the pitch and abandoned a game after fans abused one of its black players. Following that incident, the club president, the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi fully backed the decision to walk off, and condemned the racist abuse in the strongest terms."
Neither Balotelli, nor Berlusconi have commented on the matter.
During the speech, Berlusconi is understood to have used a word from a Milanese dialect.
The literal translation is "let's go and watch the family's little nigger", but the phrase is thought to better translate to "let's go and watch the little black boy of the family".
Berlusconi is said to have added: "He's a wild one. All the young ladies are invited as well - you can even have a chance to meet the president."
Balotelli, 22, joined City from Inter Milan for £24m in 2010 and scored 30 goals in 80 appearances for the club.
He signed for the Italian club on transfer deadline day, agreeing a four-year deal.
The Italy international was immediately in the headlines, scoring twice on his debut against Udinese, including the winner with the last kick of the game.
AC Milan have recently taken a stand against racism and last month the team left the pitch in a friendly last month after racist chants were aimed at Ghanaian forward Kevin-Prince Boateng.