A section of the Inter Milan ultras group ‘Curva Nord’ have insisted the monkey chants aimed at Romelu Lukaku by Cagliari fans were not meant to be racist.
Lukaku, who signed for Inter from Manchester United last month, demanded immediate action from the Italian football authorities after he was abused during Sunday’s 2-1 win.
A group called ‘L’Urlo Della Nord’ say Lukaku “has to understand” that – in Italy – fans have “ways only to help our teams and to try to make opponents nervous” – and they do not believe them to be racist.
In a statement on Facebook, the group said: “Hi Romelu, we are writing 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 multi-ethnic fans organisation 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.”