An Italian newspaper has come under fire running the headline ‘Black Friday’ on a story about former Manchester United teammates Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling.
The two players will face off when Inter Milan play As Roma in Serie A tomorrow.
This morning's Corriere dello Sport (CdS) ran the headline 'Black Friday' with the sub-head: “Lukaku and Smalling, former teammates at United and idols at Inter and Roma. This is the challenge in the challenge tomorrow with the Scudetto and a Champions League place on offer.”
The media fuels racism every day.
This is todays edition of Italian sport daily Corriere dello Sport. pic.twitter.com/0RsAmLRyfH
— Fare (@farenet) December 5, 2019
Both clubs have condemned the article with Inter tweeting that the club is and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination.
Roma tweeted a picture of the article with the tagline “No one: Absolutely nobody: Not a single soul: Corriere dello Sport headline writer:”
Football is passion, culture and brotherhood.
— Inter (@Inter_en) December 5, 2019
Racism has long plagued Italian football and there has been a host of high-profile incidents in Serie A in recent seasons.
Last month Brescia forward Mario Balotelli was subjected to monkey chants during a match at Verona with Lukaku himself facing the same abuse the month before.
Just last week, all 20 clubs in the country’s top tier signed an open letter “to publicly recognise that we have a serious problem with racism.”
The CdS article references the racism issue by saying fans should respond to "idiots who boo" by going "'oooh like children."
It describes Lukaku and Smalling as "two giants of colour."
The open letter signed by Serie A clubs notes that Italian football has not done enough to combat the problem over the years.
"No individual should ever be subjected to racist abuse – inside or outside of football – and we can no longer stay silent on this issue or wait for it to magically disappear,” it reads.
It said the league would lead the way by delivering a comprehensive and robust anti-racism policy and introduce strict laws and regulations to combat the issue.
“We don’t have any more time to waste,” it reads.
“We must now act with speed, with purpose and with unity and we call on you, the fans, to support us in this vitally important endeavour.”