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AC Milan will launch an anti-racism task force at this weekend’s derby against Inter in response to recent racist incidents.

Saturday’s Serie A clash at the San Siro has been christened the ‘Derby Against Racism’ as part of the launch.

Inter striker Romelu Lukaku was subjected to monkey chants by Cagliari fans as he stepped up to take a penalty during a Serie A game on 2 September.

“Italian football must wake up,” Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis said.

The new task force will develop a programme of activities to increase awareness, monitor and address racist behaviour on social media and in stadiums, as well as promoting diversity and inclusion.

The club have been discussing the initiative for several months but accelerated the launch in wake of recent events.

“Football provides a powerful example of the strength of unity and teamwork” added Gazidis.

“Diversity, inclusion and tolerance enhance the strength of the team, the club and of society as a whole.

“We believe that we have a moral obligation to do everything we can to address this issue.”

Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who was appointed Inter head coach in May, believes the issue of racism in Italy has got worse in recent years.

“Any form of insult is a problem. After three years away, I’ve found things have gotten worse in Italy,” he said.

“I see lots of hatred and resentment everywhere. We should send positive messages and not stir up rivalries.”

Speaking after the incident at Cagliari, Lukaku said football was “going backwards” and players “need to unify and make a statement on this matter.”

Cagliari were later cleared of racist chanting, with an independent sports judging panel saying there was not enough evidence for any sanctions.

Anti-discriminatory body Fare responded by claiming Italian football’s disciplinary systems to combat racism were “not fit for purpose”

On Monday, an Italian television station said they would no longer use pundit Luciano Passirani after he made a racist comment about former Manchester United striker Lukaku live on air.

BBC

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