'People also 'buu' players with normal, white skin' - Lazio chief Lotito claims monkey chants are not racist

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The Biancocelesti president has insisted that the issue of discrimination in Serie A has been blown out proportion at the start of the season

Lazio chief Claudio Lotito has claimed that monkey chants from supporters are not always racist, in the wake of widespread allegations of abuse in Serie A.

Racism has reared its ugly head once again at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, with events on the pitch in the Italian top-flight overshadowed by the actions of hateful supporters in the stands.

Inter striker Romelu Lukaku was subjected to monkey chants during a 2-1 win at Cagliari on September 1, but the home side were not hit with any punishment by the Italian FA.

Former Juventus forward Moise Kean was also targeted by Cagliari fans last season, with similar incidents also reported by Blaise Matuidi and former Inter midfielder Sulley Muntari in previous years.

However, Lazio president Lotito insists that monkey chants have been directed at "normal" people too, with it his belief that they are "not always racist".

“The 'buu' chants don't always correspond to a discriminatory or racist act. I remember when I was little, often people who were not black, who had normal, white skin, were booed by other players to discourage them from scoring a goal," Lotito told ANSA.

"It should be interpreted in the right way. We have so many black players, I don't think that Lazio makes a distinction between skin colour. The club's behaviour from this point of view is right in front of everyone's eyes.”

Romelu Lukaku Inter 2019-20

Lotito's comments sparked a backlash from the public and the club moved to exonerate the president from any wrongdoing with an official statement on Wednesday.

It reads: "An inappropriate term has provoked an exaggerated twisting of words and conveyed a message in stark contrast to all the long-established initiatives implemented by the club for the defence of ethical and moral values to which president Claudio Lotito has always been aligned and have always placed him in the front line against any form of discrimination."

Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie has also had to deal with racist abuse in Serie A this term, during Milan's 1-0 win at Hellas Verona on September 15.

The away crowd could be heard directing monkey noises in Kessie's direction, but again, no formal charges were filed against Verona in the days after the match.

Racism has not been confined to just Italian football in recent times, with the English Premier League also coming under fresh scrutiny over the last couple of months.

Manchester United duo Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have both been the victims of online abuse, while Chelsea's Tammy Abraham was also singled out by trolls following his decisive penalty miss in the UEFA Super Cup final against Liverpool back in August.

In an attempt to crack down on the issue in England, the FA has charged Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva with misconduct, in the wake of a tweet he posted to team-mate Benjamin Mendy which was widely condemned for its racist undertones.

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