Inter have stated “we are and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination” amid an Italian newspaper sparking a racism storm with a controversial front-page headline.
Corriere dello Sport previewed the upcoming Serie A game between Inter and Roma with a front-page “Black Friday” headline between images of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling, a choice of wording that has attracted widespread criticism.
“Black Friday”, a term used to describe the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States when retail sales mark the start of the Christmas shopping period, saw the publication focus on the reunion of former Manchester United team-mates Smalling and Lukaku, both of whom are black.
Roma quickly criticised an editorial decision they suggest “not a single soul” would find appropriate, and rival Serie A clubs, including Inter, subsequently reacted.
Corriere issued a statement insisting the headline was not racist, claiming it had been “transformed into poison by those who have poison in themselves”.
Football is passion, culture and brotherhood.
— Inter (@Inter_en) December 5, 2019
Inter posted to their official Twitter page: “Football is passion, culture and brotherhood. We are and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination.”
Anti-discrimination body FARE posted a screenshot of Corriere’s front page with the caption: “The media fuels racism every day.”
Milan and Fiorentina joined Roma and Inter in commenting on the headline.
The media fuels racism every day.
This is todays edition of Italian sport daily Corriere dello Sport. pic.twitter.com/0RsAmLRyfH
— Fare (@farenet) December 5, 2019
“It is totally unacceptable to see such casual ignorance on racism,” Milan said. “We will not stay silent on this issue.”
Fiorentina shared the image with a facepalm emoji and a single word: “Speechless.”
A series of incidents have blighted Italian football this season, with Lukaku, Mario Balotelli and Franck Kessie each targeted for racist abuse.
All 20 Serie A clubs last week united to call on fans to support them in an anti-racism drive after admitting to a “serious problem”.
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