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Euro 2012

Cassano hopes there are no gays in Italy team

KRAKOW, Poland, June 12 – Antonio Cassano said Tuesday he hopes there aren’t any gays in the Italy team but wouldn’t know if there were any.

The jovial joker was asked during Tuesday’s press conference about a rumour that there are two homosexuals and two metrosexuals in the Italy squad, a question which visibly amused the AC Milan striker.

“What’s a metrosexual?” he asked the questioner. “If they’re queer, that’s their problem. I hope there aren’t any queers in the national team.

“But if they’re queer, it’s their business. Are there any? I don’t know.”

The question and answer brought howls of laughter from the Italian press corps after which Cassano turned to the translator and added: “You’re not going to translate that to the Polish press, are you?”

Homosexuality in football is an issue that comes up often in Italy.

Earlier this year Italy striker Antonio Di Natale said he thought it would be very difficult for a player to be openly gay while former Italy midfielder Gennaro Gattuso insisted a couple of years ago he’d never come across a homosexual in football.

UEFA probing Balotelli racism claims

UEFA on Tuesday said that it was investigating claims Italy striker Mario Balotelli was racially abused during the country’s Euro 2012 Group C match against European champions Spain.

“Following the provision of new independent information today (Tuesday) regarding the two cases of alleged racist chanting in the Spain-Italy and Russia-Czech Republic matches, UEFA is now conducting further investigations,” it said in a statement.

“There are, however, no disciplinary proceedings open at this moment in time.”

European football’s governing body has already said it was investigating claims from a racism monitoring group that the Czech Republic’s Theodor Gebre Selassie was targetted by Russian fans during their opening Group A match on Friday.

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But Italy coach Cesare Prandelli on Monday rejected outright claims in a British newspaper that Spanish fans taunted Manchester City player Balotelli with monkey noises during the 1-1 draw in Gdansk, northern Poland.

“That’s absolutely untrue,” the Azzurri coach said at a news conference on Monday.

Balotelli, 21, has said that he would walk off the pitch if he were racially abused by fans.

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