Inter Milan Ultras defend Cagliari 'fans' over racially abusing Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku was subjected to racist abuse vs Cagliari

The issue of racism in football is sadly at the forefront of the game once again.

On Sunday evening, Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku was subjected to monkey chants from Cagliari 'fans' throughout the Serie A fixture, which Inter won 2-1.

When the Belgian striker scored a 72nd-minute penalty to win the game, he stopped and stared at the section of the crowd abusing him, with Milan Skriniar shushing the 'fans' as the players celebrated.

In the aftermath of the shocking incident, the majority of the footballing world has rallied around Lukaku.

Inter's summer signing is far from the first to be subjected to racism versus Cagliari and there are cries for the club to receive serious sanctions this time around.

But to make matters worse, Inter's Ultras - the Curva Nord - have released a statement which actually defends the cowardly actions of the Cagliari 'fans'.

You can view the statement in full below, per Football Italia.

THE INTER ULTRAS' STATEMENT

The statement reads: “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.

“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 create 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 organisation there are many fans of different races or fans coming from other parts of Italy that also use this way to [provoke] their opponents even when the 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 this expressions but they are definitely not meant to be racist.

“Once again... Welcome Romelu.”

Skriniar turns to confront Cagliari fans

IT REALLY IS HARD TO BELIEVE

The fact that Lukaku's own fans have jumped to the defence of those abusing him is a sign of how serious an issue racial abuse still is in the modern game.

Audio and video from the game provide clear evidence of racial abuse during the game and any denial of the fact is simply adding to the problem.

Italian football need to act and condemn those responsible this time around.

News Now - Sport News