Inter Milan ultras have defended opposition fans of Cagliari as not racist in their monkey chants aimed at Lukaku.
This past weekend, after Romelu Lukkku scored a decisive penalty against Cagliari for new club Inter Milan, the Belgian international was subjected to racial chants and monkey noises.
These actions were condemned by many. But most suprisngly it is Inters own ultra fan group that has jumped to the defense of their opposition.
In a letter posted online, via “The Scream of the North” Inter Milan fan group on social media, and reported by the BBC.
The group welcomed Lukaku and asked him to try and understand the Italian fan culture.
The letter goes on to describe such chants and abuse as not racist, but more so a battle of the mind. An attempt to weaken their opponents mentally and psychologically.
The letter said:
“We are writing to you on behalf of Curva Nord, yes the guys who welcomed you at your arrival in Milan.”
“We are really sorry you thought that what happened in Cagliari was racist.”
“You have to understand that Italy is not like many other north European countries where racism is a REAL problem.”
“We understand that it could have seemed racist to you but it is not like that.”
“In Italy we use some “ways” only to “help our teams” and to try to make our opponents nervous, not for racism but to mess them up.”
“We are a multiethnic fans organization and we have always welcomed players from everywhere. However, we have always used that “way” with other teams’ players in the past and we probably will in the future.”
“We are not racist and so are not the Cagliari fans.”
“You have to understand that in all Italian stadiums people cheer for their teams but at the same time they use to cheer against the opponents, not for racism but to “help” their own team.”
“Please consider this attitude of Italian fans as a form of respect for the fact they are afraid of you for the goals you might score against their teams and not because they hate you or they are racist.”
“True racism is a completely different story and all Italian football fans know it very well.”
“When you declare that racism is a problem to be fought in Italy you just help the repression against all football fans including us and you contribute to creating a problem that is not really there, not in the way that is perceived in other countries.”
“We are very sensitive and inclusive with all people.”
“We guarantee you that in our organization there are many fans of different races or fans coming from other parts of Italy that also use these ways to provocate their opponents even when they have the same races or are coming from the same areas.”
“Please help us to clarify what racism really is and that Italian fans are not racist.”
“The fight to REAL racism has to begin in schools, not in the stadiums, fans are just fans and they behave in different ways when inside the stadium as opposed to when they are in real life.”
“I guarantee you that what they do or say to an opponent player of another race is not what they would ever say to someone they would meet in real life.”
“Italian fans may not be perfect and we can understand your frustration with these expressions but they are definitely not meant to be racist.”
“Once again …”
While the letter appears heartfelt, there is no place in modern-day society for such intimidation tactics.
Lukaku has not publicly responded to the letter but has used social media to continue the fight against racism.
— OTRO (@OTRO) September 3, 2019