The Football Association has contacted Manchester United and asked them to address the “racist” song that was heard in support of Romelu Lukaku, which was sung by the club’s own fans during Sunday’s win over Everton.
Anti-racism group Kick It Out has already contacted the Premier League club to express their concern, following the revelations of the song on social media, which have been labelled “offensive and discriminatory”, and The Independent understands that United are already seeking advice on how to handle the matter.
Those efforts will intensify after the FA made contact on Tuesday to ask them to reveal what is being done to address the chants, given that it depicts a racial stereotype that can be deemed offensive. The song refers to the size of Lukaku’s penis, and a number of United supporters have spoken out on social media that they are uncomfortable with the chant even if it is not being sung in an intentionally derogative manner.
The FA have not launched an investigation into the matter as United are already looking into what can be done, and the governing body are happy to work with the club in order to reach a solution. The FA also has the power to fine and sanction any club whose fans are guilty of racial abuse, though that is not something that United are in danger of receiving.
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After seeking advice earlier in the week, United will meet Kick It Out, Greater Manchester police and its own supporters’ groups to discuss what can be done, though they are still awaiting information on whether the chant is deemed racially abusive in a legal sense.
Under the current Football (Offences) Act 1991, it is an offence for any individual to engage or take part in chanting of an indecent or racialist nature in connection with a designated football match, which is defined by “matter which is threatening, abusive or insulting to a person by reason of their colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins”.
Chelsea have taken measures to prevent an offensive song being chanted about striker Alvaro Morata after anti-semitic terms were used by the club’s own fans in support of the striker. 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.
“We made an initial statement after the game and we are happy to repeat, but also make clear: Chelsea Football Club finds all forms of discrimination abhorrent and the language that was used in that song the other night we find totally unacceptable,” a Chelsea spokesman said following the game between the Blues and Leicester City on Saturday 9 September.
“People that use this kind of language against others always try to argue a grey area. There is no grey area. That language used was anti-semitic.
“We have a zero tolerance policy towards it. If there is evidence that season ticket holders or members took part in that, and take part in it in the future, then we will take the strongest possible action against them, which includes bans.
“People should know that the police will be investigating and they will investigate all future such episodes. And we will support the police in anything they need us to do, assist their enquiries, and we will also support criminal prosecutions of such behaviour and activity.
“We must be clear on this because it has to stop.”
United are yet to comment on the matter surrounding the chant about Lukaku, and it remains to be seen how fans react to the controversy with the striker likely to play in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup third round encounter against Burton Albion.