AC Milan to tackle discrimination in Italian football with anti-racism task force

After high-profile discriminatory incidents in Italian football, AC Milan have brought forward the launch of their anti-racism task force.

Following several high-profile racism incidents in Italian football, AC Milan accelerated matters to launch an anti-racism task force.   -  Getty Images

AC Milan is set to launch an anti-racism task force to tackle discrimination in Italian football.

Milan's initiative had been several months in planning but, following several high-profile incidents in Italian football, it accelerated matters to launch at the Derby della Madonnina against bitter rival Inter Milan on Saturday.

The contest has been rebranded the "Derby Against Racism", as the Rossoneri aim to "demonstrate solidarity with some of the most high-profile targets of the negative behaviour".

The decision to bring the announcement forward comes in the wake of Milan midfielder Franck Kessie and Inter forward Romelu Lukaku suffering alleged racist abuse during matches in September.

An Italian football pundit was also suspended from television show TopCalcio24 for using a racist remark when praising the performances of Lukaku.

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Announcing the campaign, Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis said: "Italian football needs to wake up and take a strong stance against racist behaviour.

"AC Milan will take a leadership position on this issue, promoting basic human values that are relevant to us all. Football provides a powerful example of the strength of unity and teamwork.

"Diversity, inclusion and tolerance enhance the strength of the team, the club and of society as a whole. We believe that we have a moral obligation to do everything we can to address this issue.

"This first significant step aims to visibly demonstrate that we will be proactive in our efforts to tackle racism in football. These values transcend football rivalries and we are delighted to have the support of Inter for this initiative."

Inter coach Conte despairs of Italian football's hate culture

Inter head coach Antonio Conte believes Italian football's "hate" culture has worsened since he returned to Serie A.

Cagliari fans subjected Inter striker Romelu Lukaku to monkey chants before he took a penalty when the sides met in Serie A on September 2. On Monday Italian television station TopCalcio24 dropped pundit Luciano Passirani and apologised after he made a racist comment about Lukaku.

Conte resumed his management career in his homeland when he joined Inter in May following two seasons in the Premier League with Chelsea.

The 50-year-old was speaking at a news conference on Friday ahead of their San Siro clash with city rivals AC Milan, which has been called the 'Derby Against Racism'.

"I came back after three years and found everything worse," Conte said. "A lot of hatred, resentment. It is only to insult and foment hatred. This is very bad. This exists in Italy and is getting worse and worse.

"I had the luck to have an experience in England, where they throw them [supporters] in jail and throw away the keys, they don't come to the stadium anymore.

"We need to improve. That's why in England you see families at the stadium. I repeat: we have to improve everyone.”

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Conte also took a swipe at the media and claimed they perpetuate the problem to a large degree by stoking up rivalries.

He continued: "I found an Italy worsened to the nth degree and we are all guilty. Including you [the media] who are sitting there. We are not exempt. It is easy to make articles after something has happened and to put yourself on the side of reason.

"They are articles that foster lack of respect. We will all have to do an examination of conscience. I repeat: I had been absent for three years, I found something multiplied many times. 

"I think it is anti-educational towards the generations that are coming because they are born in front of the keyboard reading hate and violence. The solution would be to send positive messages. Do not stir up violence and accentuate the rivalry.

"I think that communication has a very important role in this because the reader can read hatred or positive things and can continue on a certain wave."

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