A group of Inter Milan ultras say the chants targeting Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku, the new signing at their own club were not racist.
Monkey chants were reportedly directed at Lukaku by rival Cagliari fans after he scored a match-winning penalty last weekend.
Ultras, the name given to groups of organized football fans who have often been accused of racism at games said opposition fans used the chanting to put Lukaku off during the game because they feared the goals he could score.
An Inter Milan-supporting group who call themselves L’urlo della Nord translated to mean The Scream of the North have also apologized to Lukaku if the chanting came across as racist, rejecting claims that Italy has a problem with racial discrimination.
“In Italy we use certain ways only to help the team and try to make opponents nervous not by racism but to make them go wrong.
“We are multi-ethnic supporters and we have always welcomed players from all over the world, although we have also used certain ways against opposing players in the past and will probably do so in the future.
“We are not racist in the same way that Cagliari supporters are not. You have to understand that in all the Italian stadiums people support their own teams but at the same time, people are used to jeering against their opponents not for racism but for helping their teams,” ” L’urlo della Nord wrote.
Speaking about the incident, Lukaku wrote in a post on Instagram: “Football is a game to be enjoyed by everyone. We shouldn’t accept any form of discrimination that will put our game in shame.
“I hope the football federations all over the world react strongly on all cases of discrimination!!!”
The Belgian also called for action to be taken on the issue and said social media platforms and football clubs need to work better because according to him, everyday racist comments are being made under a ‘post of a person of colour’.
On Tuesday, an Italian judge said he needed more evidence before deciding if Cagliari should be punished for the chants.