Cagliari president says 'closing curvas isn't the answer' to racism as Verratti joins fight

By Sports Desk September 03, 2019

Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini said "closing curvas isn't the answer" to ending racism in Serie A after Inter star Romelu Lukaku was subjected to monkey chants last week.

Racism reared its ugly head again in Italy, where Lukaku was racially abused during Inter's 2-1 win away to Cagliari at Sardegna Arena on Sunday.

The incident, which came as Lukaku stepped up to convert a second-half penalty, sparked widespread condemnation of Cagliari – whose fans were also previously involved in racist chants directed at Pescara's Sulley Muntari (2017), Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi (2018) and former Juve forward Moise Kean (2019).

Inter's Curva Nord supporters claimed alleged abuse of striker Lukaku from Cagliari fans was not racist but "a form of respect".

Amid growing calls for Italian authorities to crack down on racism and Cagliari, Giulini told Radio Popolare: "We're trying to work in a serious way, through the awareness of our stewards who will have to report people to DIGOS [a law enforcement agency].

"It's not easy to lipread with technology: we'll also ask the decent fans for help, that is 99.9 per cent of Cagliari supporters.

"Fighting ignorance is difficult, so we can only raise awareness. This incident has caused huge anger and frustration in us for all the initiatives we're carrying out. We were the first to introduce a school for young fans.

"Cagliari isn't a racist city at all. I'm so sorry that this image of us has also gone abroad. I hope we aren't banned. Closing curvas isn't the answer: as I said before, stewards must be made aware.

"I won't rule out, however, that any of my stewards saw something or a camera identified someone chanting. Once they're recognised, these people could be denied entry if they try to re-enter the stadium."

Former Pescara midfielder Marco Verratti – who now plays for Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain – said games must be stopped for racism.

"You have to stop games because otherwise we won't go anywhere," the Italy international told Rai Sport.

"I know it's a big step to take, but we have to do it because otherwise those 4-5 stupid people will always be there.

"Lukaku's appeal was right. It's up to us players to show we can be role models for all ages. We carry great influence. If it starts with us, that's a good thing."

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