Dzeko: Racism in Italy worse than expected

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Roma striker Edin Dzeko has said there is more racism in Italian football than he expected before moving to Serie A.

Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku was subjected to monkey chants from a section of Cagliari supporters this month after former Juventus man Moise Kean was racially abused by the same fanbase last season.

England internationals Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham have received online abuse this season but Dzeko — who has played in Serie A for four years — said the problem is more prevalent in Italy.

– Inter ultras defend Cagliari racist abuse of Lukaku
– Lukaku: Italy must fight racism to attract top stars
– Mata slams ‘cowardly’ racist abuse toward Pogba

“I think [racism] is a bigger problem than, maybe, in other countries, especially in England,” Dzeko told Sky Sports. “I don’t know what to say about that.

“But I think in Italy, it’s much more than expected. I think, also, it has to come from the federation, they have to protect the players. That’s the only way.

“I know, when I was playing in England, it is much improved. There is always less and less racism there.”

AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie was reportedly subjected to racist chants over the weekend in the 1-0 win against Hellas Verona.

Hellas Verona supporters aimed offensive chants at Kessie during the first half on Sunday night, Gazzetta dello Sport reported.

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has called on Italy to learn from the Premier League in the fight against racism, after he suffered racist abuse from a section of Inter Milan fans last season.

Lukaku called for players to unify against the issue and Dzeko said perpetrators must be banned from stadiums.

“But hopefully, for the good of the other players, these things have to stop and hopefully the federation can see this as well and try to stop it in any way possible,” he added.

“If you hear someone, you just ban him from the stadium. They cannot come anymore. We don’t those racist people at the stadiums.”

Meanwhile, Italian TV commentator Luciano Passirani was immediately suspended for a racist comment directed at Lukaku on Sunday.

Speaking on the “Qui Studio a Voi Stadio” show, Passirani said: “I don’t see any other player in Italy now like Lukaku. I really like him.

“The only way to stop him is to say: ‘Here are 10 bananas that you can eat.'”

Information from Associated Press was used in this report.

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