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ITALIAN clubs have penned an open letter to fans in an attempt to eradicate racism from football.
Serie A has been marred by racist incidents for years, with a spike in incidents this year.
Brescia forward Mario Balotelli was subjected to monkey chants at the start of the month when playing away against Hellas Veronas — he walked off the pitch after kicking the ball into the stands but returned to finish the match.
Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku was racially abused away to Cagliary in September, leading to him saying: “Football is a game to be enjoyed by everyone and we shouldn’t accept any form of discrimination that will put our game in shame.”
In recent years, players including Moise Kean, Blaise Matuidi, Kevin Prince Boateng, Dalbert, Ronaldo Vieira and Juan Jesus ave been racially abused, both on the pitch and on social media.
The clubs’ statement read: “We have to publicly recognise that we have a serious problem with racism.
“It’s a problem that we have not done enough to combat over the years.
“Images of players being racially abused in Italian football have been viewed and discussed all around the world this season and that shames us all.
“No individual should ever be subjected to racist abuse — inside or outside of football — and we can no longer stay silent on this issue or wait for it to magically disappear.
“Driven by the clubs, positive conversations have been held in recent weeks with Lega Serie A, FIGC and international experts on how to tackle and eradicate this issue from the game.
“We, the undersigned clubs, are united by our desire for serious change and Lega Serie A has stated its intention to lead the way by delivering a comprehensive and robust Serie A anti-racism policy, stricter new laws and regulations and a plan for educating those within the game about the scourge of racism.
“We don’t have any more time to waste.
“We must now act with speed, with purpose and with unity and we call on you, the fans, to support us in this vitally important endeavour.”
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