MILAN (Reuters) – Inter Milan launched an anti-racism campaign with a video on Friday in which former players Luis Figo, Javier Zanetti and Samuel Eto’o urged fans not to make the so-called “buu” noise widely regarded as a racist insult.
The video was released as Inter prepared to play a second match without spectators after some fans made racial insults and animal noises at Napoli’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly during a Serie A match at San Siro on Boxing Day.
The noise which is described by local media as “buu” is usually regarded as racist in Italian football, although some fans have argued it is simply to annoy opposing players regardless of race.
Inter said on their website that their idea was to use BUU as an acronym for Brothers Universally United — a phrase repeated by Figo, Zanetti and Eto’o in the video — and asking fans to “write it, not say it”.
The club described the campaign as “an invitation to fight racism with its own weapon: the racist buu.”
“It’s a changeover from negative to positive. This is what we want from the BUU campaign, write it, don’t say it,” said club president Steven Zhang who also appears in the video.
“This campaign wants to be a solid tool against all forms of discrimination and one that strongly reaffirms the values that Inter have identified themselves with for almost 111 years.”
Although Saturday’s match against Sassuolo is officially behind closed doors, Inter said on Thursday that Serie A had agreed to allow 10,000 children from the Milan area to watch the game.
Inter were ordered to close their stadium to the public for two games and the section of the ground occupied by hardcore ultras for a third match following the incidents against Napoli.
Koulibaly, sent off during the match, was banned for two matches but has appealed against the second game.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge)