Roma general director Franco Baldini said it was uncertain whether the chants were racist.
“The boos were directed at Balotelli because he’s a feared player,” Baldini said, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport. “The nature of the chants was not clear. And I clearly heard the Milan fans chanting ‘romano bastardo’ — ‘roman bastard’ — which is just as discriminatory. It’s difficult to figure out where the border is between racial discrimination or simple boos.”
This was the first time a Serie A match was suspended due to racism.
In January, Boateng famously walked off the field with his teammates after enduring racist abuse during an exhibition against a fourth-tier Italian club.
“The perception is still that in certain areas of the stadium you can do anything,” Italian players’ association president Damiano Tommasi said. “It’s important to make those people feel more and more in the minority.
“The goal is to make people who behave poorly leave the stadium, although that’s not simple for reasons of public safety,” Tommasi added. “It’s always a very fine line between penalizing the majority of people who go to the stadium to enjoy the show and punishing the minority who ruin it. It’s not simple but it seems to me that yesterday everyone was in agreement with Rocchi’s decision.”