An Ultra group from Inter's Curva Nord have released a statement defending Cagliari fans for their vile racist abuse against Romelu Lukaku, astonishingly telling the Belgium international that they're 'sorry you thought it was racism'.
The fans' statement, which was initally shared in Italian and English on the Facebook fan group L'urlo della Nord, insisted that Cagliari's audible monkey chants were actually not a form of racism and even claimed that the country doesn't have a 'real' problem with racism - despite evidence to the contrary.
The statement, as widely shared across social media, even told Lukaku to "consider this attitude of Italian fans as a form of respect", stressing more than once that Cagliari's fans are not racist.
This is a statement released by @Inter_en ultras the #CurvaNord about the racism @RomeluLukaku9 was the victim of.— Nima Tavallaey Roodsari (@NimaTavRood) September 3, 2019
It begins with the words “we’re really sorry you thought what happened in Cagliari was racist.”
Anyone still wonder why I’m proud to never have set foot there?
There have been a handful of high-profile racist incidents with Cagliari's fans over the last few years alone, with Everton's teenage star Moise Kean a victim of their abuse just a few months ago - an incident for which Leonardo Bonucci claimed the striker was partially responsible.
Following this latest incident involving Lukaku, an Italian journalist reportedly went on TV in the aftermath of the game and said: "They should've let someone else take the penalty. I don't blame the Cagliari fans for their actions."
The Inter fans' shocking statement along with the Italian FA's atrocious record of dealing with racist incidents in their stadiums surely has to spark one of football's governing body's into action to start clamping down.
One major issue Italian clubs do face is that only a small portion of teams actually own their stadium and are therefore unable to equip them with adequate security cameras or other measures that would help to identify racist fans.
However, with what feels like an increasing number of racist incidents happening in Serie A, with homophobic chanting in France and far-right activity in Germany also proving to be major problems, the authorities have to do something to protect players better in each country.