Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku celebrates his goal during a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Inter Milan, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Sept.21, 2019. (AP)
The Italian government's new sports minister has vowed to eliminate racism from soccer stadiums "with more severe and efficient sanctions.''
Vincenzo Spadafora tells Spanish newspaper El Pais, "Eliminating racism from society is a long and costly process which we will move forward but I will dedicate myself toward eliminating it from stadiums during my mandate even at the cost of making unpopular decisions.''
Spadafora adds, "The time has come for everyone to assume responsibility: institutions, politicians, federations and fans. ... Soon I will meet with all of the sports representatives to share with them a significant change, with more severe and efficient sanctions.''
The comments come after three cases of racist chants during the four opening rounds of Serie A.
Three black players Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku, AC Milan's Franck Kessie, and Fiorentina's Dalbert Henrique have been targeted by offensive chants from the stands.
But no punishments have been handed out by the Italian league, federation or police.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)