MILAN, September 20, 2019 – AC Milan, celebrating its 120th anniversary this year, has today announced that it will establish an internal task force, with the support of an external consultancy, to address the issue of racism in Italian football. This newly-formed group will develop a programme of activities to increase awareness, monitor and address racist behaviour on social media and in the stadium, and drive the adoption of global best practices on diversity and inclusion. Following several months of planning and internal discussion, the club has decided to accelerate the launch of the initiative after a number of high-profile events in recent weeks that have resulted in negative press both domestically and internationally.
The initiative will be launched at the club’s home match against FC Internazionale, in order to demonstrate solidarity with some of the most high-profile targets of the negative behaviour. The match will be positioned as the ‘Derby Against Racism’ and the players from both teams will join together for a photograph to mark the occasion before kick-off. This move is consistent with the pioneering nature of the club, which has brought numerous footballing icons of diverse backgrounds to Serie A, including the first AC Milan black player to win the Ballon d’Or (Ruud Gullit, 1987) and its first African winner (George Weah, 1995).
Ivan Gazidis, CEO of AC Milan, stated: “Italian football needs to wake up and take a strong stance against racist behaviours. AC Milan will take a leadership position on this issue, promoting basic human values that are relevant to us all. Football provides a powerful example of the strength of unity and teamwork. 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”. Referring to the ‘Derby Against Racism’ initiative, Mr Gazidis added: “this first significant step aims to visibly demonstrate that we will be proactive in our efforts to tackle racism in football. These values transcend football rivalries and we are delighted to have the support of FC Inter for this initiative”.
Paolo Scaroni, AC Milan’s President, added his support, saying: “I am pleased that AC Milan is taking action to address one of the most important issues in our game and our society. This club has a powerful voice and I believe we can play an important role in the fight against racism”.