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:
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:
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.