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Inter's Chinese chairman backs Ultras in Lukaku race row controversy

Inter Milan’s Chinese chairman Steven Zhang insists his club’s ultras ‘did not intend to be bad’ by claiming monkey chants directed at striker Romelu Lukaku were not racist

  • Romelu Lukaku scored the winning penalty in Inter Milan’s clash last weekend
  • While waiting to take the spot kick, Cagliari fans made monkey noises at him 
  • A group of Inter ultras then claimed the insults by the hosts were not racist
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Inter Milan chairman Steven Zhang says the principle of non-discrimination is ’embedded in the DNA’ of the club, after a widely criticised response from ultras fans to striker Romelu Lukaku being racially abused at a game.

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Lukaku was targeted with monkey chants by Cagliari fans this month after the Belgium forward scored a penalty kick.

A group of Inter fans later suggested such apparent abuse is not racist in Italy, and was a tactic they also used to unsettle opposing players.

Romelu Lukaku suffered racist abuse at the hands of Cagliari fans as he played for Inter Milan

Inter’s Chinese chairman says the club’s inclusive history makes him believe that ‘a lot of fans, when they did it, the intention was not bad.’

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Zhang says footall is ‘not for violence, it’s not for racism’ and can be a force to educate people around the world.

The 28-year-old official spoke with reporters at a European Club Association meeting after he was elected to the 246-member group’s executive board.

Lukaku's team-mate Milan Skriniar was seen putting his fingers to his lips to the Cagliari fans

Lukaku's team-mate Milan Skriniar was seen putting his fingers to his lips to the Cagliari fans

Lukaku’s team-mate Milan Skriniar was seen putting his fingers to his lips to the Cagliari fans

Lukaku's second-half penalty turned out to be the winning goal in a 2-1 win for Inter Milan

Lukaku's second-half penalty turned out to be the winning goal in a 2-1 win for Inter Milan

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Lukaku’s second-half penalty turned out to be the winning goal in a 2-1 win for Inter Milan