Belgium and Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku has called on football federations to try and tackle racism as an increasing problem.
This follows after the former Manchester United striker was subjected to racist abuse in Sunday’s Serie A clash between Inter Milan and Cagliari – the former won 2-1 with Romelu Lukaku converting from a penalty.
Playing only his second match in Italy after his move from Manchester United, Lukaku appeared to be the target of monkey chants from the home crowd at the Sardegna Arena as he prepared to take the decisive penalty.
Of recent, several black players have suffered online racist abuse including Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham and Kurt Zouma.
Racism has to be a long-running occurrence notably in Italian football.
This has, on many times forced football followers to criticise authorities, in particular, FIFA for not taking appropriate action in trying to eradicate the virus.
Following Sunday’s chants from fans, Romelu Lukaku lamented the lack of action despite years of complaints.
“Football is a game to be enjoyed and we shouldn’t accept any form of discrimination that will put our game in shame. Many players in the last month have suffered from racial abuse. I did yesterday too,” Lukaku said in a statement.
“Social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) need to work better as well with football clubs because every day you see at least a racist comment under a post of a person of colour. We’ve been saying it for years and still no action.”
Lukaku termed the behaviours as backwards and requested players to unify and make a statement on this matter.
Earlier, Twitter stated that it would meet with United and the anti-discrimination group, Kick It Out to address online racist abuse towards players in Britain.
“We are committed to working with civil society stakeholders to develop solutions to this unacceptable behaviour – both online and off,” read a statement from twitter.
Lukaku is not the first player to be exposed to racist abuse in Italy, former Juventus forward Moise Kean, now with Everton, was also insulted after scoring against Cagliari in April but Serie A took no action against the Sardinian club, saying that the insults had limited relevance.
Before that, in a run of events going back until 2010, Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi was also insulted.
These, together with many others like Sulley Muntari and Samuel Eto’o, who at the time of the incidents were playing for Pescara and Inter Milan respectively have all been exposed to racist monkey chants in Italy.
By John Dalton Kigozi