Inter Ultras defended Cagliari fans' racist abuse of Romelu Lukaku, saying, "We are not racist and so are not the Cagliari fans" in a statement.
Inter Milan's supporters have defended Cagliari supporters who racially abused Romelu Lukaku during Sunday's 2-1 victory.
Lukaku stepped up to take a penalty in the 72nd minute of the match with the score tied at 1-1, but before he could take the shot, Cagliari fans taunted him with racist monkey chants.
On Tuesday, Inter ultras, a fan group, addressed the issue with a statement on Facebook and claimed the actions were not racist.
Here's the statement:
"Hi Romelu. We are writing you on behalf of Curva Nord, yes the guys who welcomed you at your arrival in Milan.
"We are really sorry you thought that what happened in Cagliari was racist.
"You have to understand that Italy is not like many other north European countries where racism is a REAL problem.
"We understand that it could have seemed racist to you, but it is not like that.
"In Italy we use some ‘ways’ only to ‘help our teams’ and to try to make our opponents nervous, not for racism but to mess them up.
"We are a multi-ethnic fans organisation and we have always welcomed players from everywhere. However, we have always used that ‘way’ with other teams’ players in the past and we probably will in the future.
"We are not racist and so are not the Cagliari fans.
"You have to understand that in all Italian stadiums people cheer for their teams but at the same time they use to cheer against the opponents not for racism but to ‘help’ their own team.
"Please consider this attitude of Italian fans as a form of respect for the fact they are afraid of you for the goals you might score against their teams and not because they hate you or they are racist.
"True racism is a completely different story and all Italian football fans know it very well.
"When you declare that racism is a problem to be fought in Italy you just help the repression against all football fans including us and you contribute to create a problem that is not really there, not in the way that is perceived in other countries.
"We are very sensitive and inclusive with all people. We guarantee you that in our organisation there are many fans of different races or fans coming from other parts of Italy that also use this way to [provoke] their opponents even when the have the same races or are coming from the same areas.
"Please help us to clarify what racism really is and that Italian fans are not racist.
"The fight to REAL racism has to begin in schools not in the stadiums, fans are just fans and they behave in different ways when inside the stadium as opposed to when they are in real life.
"I guarantee you that what they do or say to an opponent player of another race is not what they would ever say to someone they would meet in real life.
"Italian fans may not be perfect and we can understand your frustration with this expressions but they are definitely not meant to be racist.
"Once again... Welcome Romelu."
Lukaku responded to the chants with an Instagram post on Monday.
This isn't the first time Cagliari fans have been accused of racist abuse. In April, Cagliari fans directed racist monkey chants at Moise Kean when he was with Juventus.
Inter next hosts Udinese on Saturday, Sept. 14.