Romelu Lukaku Says Football 'Going Backwards' on Tackling Racist Abuse

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2019

CAGLIARI, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 01: Romelu Lukaku of Inter scores his goal 1-2   during the Serie A match between Cagliari Calcio and FC Internazionale at Sardegna Arena on September 1, 2019 in Cagliari, Italy.  (Photo by Enrico Locci/Getty Images)
Enrico Locci/Getty Images

Romelu Lukaku has said football is "going backwards" on tackling racist abuse after some in the crowd subjected him to monkey chants while he was playing for Inter Milan against Cagliari on Sunday at the Sardegna Arena.

Lukaku took to Instagram after the match, in which he scored the winner from the penalty spot, to address the situation. He wrote:

Squawka News @SquawkaNews

"Ladies and gentlemen, it's 2019, instead of going forwards we're going backwards." Romelu Lukaku responds to the racial abuse he suffered against Cagliari on Sunday night. via IG/romelulukaku https://t.co/OUMjQYE4P8

In the wake of the chants directed at Lukaku, Serie A announced a new anti-discrimination initiative that will start in October, per Football Italia.

“Lega Serie A has always been against all forms of discrimination and is strongly committed to countering a heinous phenomenon that, though perpetrated by a few stupid people, damages the whole system," Serie A president Gaetano Micciche and CEO Luigi De Siervo said in a statement. “In October, a national and international initiative will be launched, involving the 20 Serie A teams, with the aim of making every supporter aware of such a delicate and important issue. Each club will be asked to select their own player, who will become part of Serie A’s ‘Team Against Racism’, a testimonial that will be the bearer of the values ​​of respect and equality in the first person. Racism is a cultural problem, everyone’s commitment will be needed, from experts to fans, to spread a positive, consistent and appropriate model for a civilised country like Italy through its stadia.”

Lukaku, 26, only joined Inter from Manchester United last month, and he has so far scored in both his Serie A appearances for his new club.

His former United team-mates, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, have both been subjected to racist abuse on social media after missing penalties in the Premier League this term.

Harry Maguire made similar calls to Lukaku for social media sites to be better equipped at handling racist abuse:

Harry Maguire @HarryMaguire93

Disgusting. Social media need to do something about it... Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence. Stop these pathetic trolls making numerous accounts to abuse people. @Twitter @instagram https://t.co/bzow073aTw

But those were not isolated incidents, and nor was the abuse of Lukaku on Sunday.

Last season, 19-year-old Moise Kean was targeted with racist abuse at Cagliari while playing for Juventus, and Blaise Matuidi has suffered similarly at the same stadium:

Melissa Reddy @MelissaReddy_

Cagliari. Again 😡 And not just them Action, PLEASE 2017: No punishment for racist chanting at Muntari - "couldn’t really be heard" 2018: "No sanction can be brought" for abuse of Matuidi May: Monkey chants at Kean -"limited relevance to race" Now Lukaku https://t.co/o3uYuGoGmf

As such, it is difficult to argue with Lukaku's assertion that not enough action has been taken to deal with the issue.