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Inter fans' group incredibly excuses Lukaku racist abuse as 'a form of respect'

The Belgium striker was subjected to monkey chants from Cagliari supporters over the weekend.

Lukaku scored for Inter in the 2-1 win over Cagliari.
Lukaku scored for Inter in the 2-1 win over Cagliari.

INTER’S CURVA NORD supporters have claimed alleged abuse of striker Romelu Lukaku from Cagliari fans was not racist but “a form of respect”.

Lukaku, who joined Inter in a club-record deal from Manchester United last month, appeared to be the subject of monkey chants from Cagliari supporters as he scored in the Nerazzurri’s 2-1 Serie A away win on Sunday.

The Belgium international later called for players to “unify” against discrimination, with Cagliari fans accused of singling out other black players in the past, notably Sulley Muntari, Blaise Matuidi and Moise Kean.

However, the Curva Nord fans at San Siro – a vocal section of the Inter support –have responded to Lukaku’s comments with an open letter addressed to their club’s new signing.

The supporters defended Cagliari and claimed racism is not a “real problem” in Italy.

The letter, posted on the group’s Facebook page, begins: “Hi Romelu. We are writing to you on behalf of the Curva Nord; yes, the guys who welcomed you on your arrival in Milan.

We are really sorry you thought that what happened in Cagliari was racist. You have to understand that Italy is not like many other north European countries where racism is a real problem.”

The group continue, claiming such chants are common to “help our teams”, adding: “We are not racist and so nor are the Cagliari fans.”

Attempting to explain the abuse, the supporters suggest Lukaku was pinpointed because his talent made him a threat to Cagliari.

“Please consider this attitude of Italian fans as a form of respect for the fact they are afraid of you for the goals you might score against their teams and not because they hate you or they are racist,” the Curva Nord said.

They add that claims of racism support the “repression of all football fans” by highlighting “a problem that is not really there”.

England international Jadon Sancho offered Lukaku his support following the incident, saying the Inter star “handled it really well by not reacting and carrying on playing”.

The issue of racism has come to the fore in English football in recent weeks, with a number of black Premier League players subjected to abuse on social media. Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham were all targeted following missed penalties, while Kurt Zouma was abused after scoring an own goal.

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Meanwhile, Cagliari president Tommaso said “closing curvas isn’t the answer” to ending the racism.

Racism reared its ugly head again in Italy, where Lukaku was racially abused during Inter’s 2-1 win away to Cagliari at Sardegna Arena on Sunday.

Amid growing calls for Italian authorities to crack down on racism and Cagliari, Giulini told Radio Popolare: “We’re trying to work in a serious way, through the awareness of our stewards who will have to report people to DIGOS [a law enforcement agency].

It’s not easy to lipread with technology: we’ll also ask the decent fans for help, that is 99.9% of Cagliari supporters.

“Fighting ignorance is difficult, so we can only raise awareness. This incident has caused huge anger and frustration in us for all the initiatives we’re carrying out. We were the first to introduce a school for young fans.

“Cagliari isn’t a racist city at all. I’m so sorry that this image of us has also gone abroad. I hope we aren’t banned. Closing curvas isn’t the answer: as I said before, stewards must be made aware.

“I won’t rule out, however, that any of my stewards saw something or a camera identified someone chanting. Once they’re recognised, these people could be denied entry if they try to re-enter the stadium.”

- Originally published at 09.40

Murray Kinsella joins Gavan Casey, Ryan Bailey and Sean Farrell with their immediate reaction to Ireland’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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