Sunday 25 February 2018

Manchester United 'seeking advice' over racist Romelu Lukaku song

Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United celebrates
Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United celebrates

Jack de Menezes

Manchester United are seeking specialist advice after they were contacted by anti-racism group Kick It Out over a song that has been heard at Old Trafford in support of the striker that refers to a racial stereotype.

Kick It Out has confirmed that it has spoken to the Premier League club following the emergence of video footage that featured a song about the size of Lukaku’s penis, which the campaign group have asked to be banned because it reinforces the stereotype that black men are better endowed than others.

The chant has not been used by fans in a derogatory or abusive way towards Belgian striker Lukaku, but the club will now seek advice over the matter.

“Kick It Out is aware of footage of alleged racist chanting by supporters of Manchester United that emerged on Wednesday evening [September 13],” a Kick It Out spokesman said on Tuesday.

“The lyrics used in the chant are offensive and discriminatory. Racist stereotypes are never acceptable in football or wider society, irrespective of any intention to show support for a player.

“We have contacted Manchester United regarding the issue and will be working closely with them and the FA to ensure that it is addressed swiftly. If we receive any reports relating to the discriminatory chant, those will be passed on to the governing body and the perpetrators can expect to face punishment.”

A United spokesman did confirm that the club have a “zero-tolerance” policy towards racism.

The issue was brought to light by fans on social media and influential blogs that claimed the chant, which follows the tune of the Stone Roses’ Made of Stone, was “drivel that belongs in the 1980s”.

Lukaku joined United in the summer from fellow Premier League club Everton in a £75m transfer, and he scored against his former club at the weekend in a 4-0 rout at Old Trafford that put United level at the top of the table with fierce rivals Manchester City. It was during the encounter that the song was heard by members of the United support, with video footage subsequently uploaded to social media to reveal the racial chant.

United’s desire to seek advice on the matter follows Chelsea’s decision to ban an anti-semitic song about striker Alvaro Morata. The Spain international asked fans not to sing a chant that he felt was racially abusive, and the club issued a statement earlier this month to confirm that anyone found singing the chant at Stamford Bridge will be prosecuted.

Independent News Service

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