Racism a systemic issue in Italian football, says Fare network

Fare, which aims to combat inequality in football, has issued a statement in response to racist abuse aimed at Inter striker Romelu Lukaku.

Inter striker Romelu Lukaku   -  Getty Images

Racism is a systemic issue in Italian football and authorities must do more to protect players, according to the Fare network.

Inter striker Romelu Lukaku was targeted by monkey chants as he prepared to take a penalty in a Serie A game away to Cagliari on Sunday.

Cagliari has a history of racist incidents, with Moise Kean, Blaise Matuidi and Sulley Muntari having previously received abuse.

Fare, an umbrella organisation which aims to combat inequality in football, called on Italian authorities to step up in the fight against racism.

"We have been appalled to see yet another incident of racism in Italy in the form of abuse aimed at Inter forward Romelu Lukaku at the Cagliari v Inter Serie A game," said a Fare statement.

"The abuse directed at Lukaku is one in a long list of incidents in Italian football over the past year and highlights the repeated failure to protect minority players and to tackle what is a systemic issue in Italian football.

"Sunday's events have followed a familiar pattern in Italy in which players are abused, the referee fails to protect them and the authorities take insufficient action.

"The response from Cagliari, the Italian FA and Inter ultras has been to deny its significance and take ineffective action.

 

"Videos circulating on social media show that monkey chants are clearly audible. The Italian FA and Serie A have this footage, it is clear evidence and the basis on which to take action that sends a strong message.

"We believe that dealing with racism should be a priority for the Italian FA. A plan of action monitored by international governing bodies UEFA and FIFA is needed. If such a plan is not developed they should face special measures and ultimately suspension."

Lilian Thuram and Vincent Kompany are among those to have spoken out in support of Lukaku since the incident.