Nice midfielder Alassane Plea has confirmed he heard racist abuse directed at team-mate Mario Balotelli during Friday’s 1-1 draw at Bastia.
Former Manchester City and Liverpool striker Balotelli, 26, protested at his treatment in a social media post. Plea said: “We heard monkey noises in the warm-up and during the game.
A few supporters insulted him the whole game. Balotelli was very, very upset.”
Bastia released a statement on Saturday expressing surprise at the allegations.
“Having never noticed nor been informed, either by the referees, the delegates or any member of Nice of any incident of this type, it is with surprise that our club discovered these accusations, which carry considerable harm to the image of our club as a whole,” the Bastia statement said.
French governing body Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) has announced an investigation into Balotelli’s allegations.
The Bastia statement added: “Taking note of the LFP announcement of an inquiry, our club is now at the disposal of the authorities so that all light is shed on this type of behaviour, which is by its nature stupid and unacceptable.”
Balotelli has scored 10 goals in 15 games for Nice since joining on a free transfer from Liverpool in August, two years after a £16m move to Anfield.
In 2013 he suffered abuse from Roma fans while playing for AC Milan and threatened to walk off the pitch if he was subjected to it again.