Referee claims he didn't hear racist abuse directed at Balotelli
The referee who booked Mario Balotelli after he complained about racist abuse claims he did not hear the insults.
Nicolas Rainville showed Balotelli a yellow card after the forward gestured to the crowd during Nice's 3-2 league defeat at Dijon last Saturday.
Balotelli said he had been the target of monkey chants from home fans, and the Disciplinary Commission of the French Football League (LFP) will open an investigation into the matter when it sits on Thursday.
In a news release issued by the Elite Football Referees' Syndicate (SAFE), Rainville said he "did not hear insults or shouts coming from the stand."
"If I had heard monkey chants as indicated in the request from OGC Nice, I would never have given Mr. Mario Balotelli a booking," Rainville said. "I can understand such a reaction from a player affected by those sorts of insults."
Two associations, SOS Racisme and Sportitude France, have launched an appeal for witnesses to come forward.