ROME – AC Milan have issued a strongly worded statement deploring racist abuse directed at two of its players by Lazio fans in Wednesday’s Italian Cup semi-final at the San Siro.
The club claimed “recurring chants and monkey noises” aimed at Franck Kessie and Tiemoue Bakayoko “could be heard coming from the away stand before, during and after the match”.
Milan executive chairman Paolo Scaroni commented: “It was disheartening to watch such an important sporting event in our stadium, whilst monkey noises and racist insults were coming from the stands.
“We must be extremely vigilant. Football is respect. Football should not divide, but unite people.”
Wednesday’s racist abuse and separate neo-fascist incidents marred Lazio’s 1-0 semi-final second leg win, which put them through to the final.
Milan said they had reported the “unacceptable” behaviour of a section of Lazio’s supporters to “the highest sports governing bodies”.
The statement expressed hope that “with everyone’s commitment, measures are implemented to eliminate racism from all stadia”.
Lazio spokesman Arturo Diaconale suggested it was the Rome club that was in fact “the injured party”.
“The damage done by this minority (of Lazio fans) falls on the club and its fans... The vast majority of supporters of Lazio do not accept these episodes,” he asserted.
This is the latest in a series of racist incidents in Serie A this season.
Earlier this month, Juventus youngster Moise Kean was racially abused in a game at Cagliari, with his teammate Leonardo Bonucci widely condemned for then saying it was partly the striker’s fault.AFP