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AC Milan set up anti-racism task force to help tackle discrimination in Italian football

19:48 EAT 20/09/2019
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The Serie A club's initiative will be brought forward to launch at the Milan derby on Saturday

AC Milan are set to launch an anti-racism task force to tackle discrimination in Italian football.

Milan's initiative had been several months in planning but, following several high-profile incidents in Italian football, they accelerated matters to launch at the Derby della Madonnina against bitter rivals Inter on Saturday.

The contest has been rebranded the "Derby Against Racism", as the Rossoneri aim to "demonstrate solidarity with some of the most high-profile targets of the negative behaviour".

The decision to bring the announcement forward comes in the wake of Milan midfielder Franck Kessie and Inter forward Romelu Lukaku suffering alleged racist abuse during matches in September.

An Italian football pundit was also suspended from television show TopCalcio24 for using a racist remark when praising the performances of Lukaku.

Announcing the campaign, Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis said: "Italian football needs to wake up and take a strong stance against racist behaviour.

"AC Milan will take a leadership position on this issue, promoting basic human values that are relevant to us all. Football provides a powerful example of the strength of unity and teamwork.

"Diversity, inclusion and tolerance enhance the strength of the team, the club and of society as a whole. We believe that we have a moral obligation to do everything we can to address this issue.

"This first significant step aims to visibly demonstrate that we will be proactive in our efforts to tackle racism in football. These values transcend football rivalries and we are delighted to have the support of Inter for this initiative."

Following the game against Cagliari during which he was subjected to monkey chants, Lukaku released a statement which said: 

"As players we need to unify and make a statement on this matter. Many players in the last month have suffered from racial abuse… I did yesterday too.

"Football is a game to be enjoyed and we shouldn't accept any form of discrimination that will put our game in shame. Ladies and gentlemen it's 2019 - instead of going forwards we're going backwards.

"I hope the football federations all over the world react strongly on all cases of discrimination."

His club will now be part of a derby demonstration against this type of discrimination in football, and in society, in a match which just became even more important than it already is.