AC Milan to launch anti-racism initiative at Inter showdown
Marco Luzzani / Getty Images Sport / Getty

AC Milan will use Saturday's derby with Inter to launch an anti-racism initiative.

The deep-rooted issue of racism in Italian football has blighted the opening weeks of the 2019-20 season, so Milan are plotting a range of activities to boost awareness, monitor racist behavior in the San Siro and on social media, and generally promote diversity and inclusion.

The drive begins by naming the weekend showdown the "Derby Against Racism."

"Italian football must wake up," Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis said of the initiative, according to BBC Sport.

Saturday's opponents, Inter, have been at the center of one of Serie A's recent controversies. Nerazzurri frontman Romelu Lukaku was the victim of racist abuse by Cagliari fans Sept. 2 but, rather than leap to the defense of their star striker, Inter ultras instead defended the egregious behavior and described it as a "form of respect."

Cagliari subsequently avoided punishment after the league's disciplinary panel said the supporters' taunting of Lukaku was not deemed offensive in terms "size and real perception."

"Football provides a powerful example of the strength of unity and teamwork," Gazidis continued. "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."

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AC Milan to launch anti-racism initiative at Inter showdown
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