Inter Milan Launches 'Buu' Campaign In Response To Racist Incident

Last month, Inter fans subjected Kalidou Koulibaly to the kind of racist taunts that have no place in today’s society. During the game with Napoli at San Siro, the defender was repeatedly targeted by the Nerazzurri supporters in the Curva Nord, with their own club moving swiftly to condemn the behavior which gathered worldwide attention.

“Together with our city, we have always been fighting to help create a future free of discrimination,” read a statement posted on Inter’s official website immediately following that match. “From that night 110 years ago when our founders set us on our journey, we have always said no to any form of discrimination. That is why we feel obliged today, once again, to reiterate that anyone who does not understand or accept our history – this club’s history – is not one of us.”

It was never going to be enough, and the club were rightly punished by Italy’s footballing authorities, ordered to play two matches behind closed doors and then a third with the Curva empty. Anti-discrimination organization Fare acknowledged that decision, issuing a statement of their own which called the ruling “a clear signal” but went on to add that “it is not enough, so much more still remains to be done to stop the rot at the heart of Italian football.”

Inter clearly agreed, as their CEO Alessandro Antonello explained in an exclusive interview with FloFC. 

“Following the unfortunate incidents that took place during the game with Napoli on Dec. 26, the club immediately wanted to show its complete disassociation from the actions of a few mindless so-called fans,” he said. “The following day we met internally and with a full support of our president Steven Zhang, decided that we needed to demonstrate a strong positive reaction against all forms of discrimination.”

Taking the jeers that were showered upon Koulibaly, Inter proposed that the word “BUU” – the Italian translation of “BOO!” – was changed into a positive acronym standing for “Brothers Universally United.” They posted the video above on social media, with Zhang joined by club captain Mauro Icardi, vice president Javier Zanetti, captain Mauro Icardi and other iconic former players urging fans to “write it, don’t say it.”

“It’s a changeover from negative to positive,” said President Zhang in an accompanying press release. “The only way to involve everyone is to focus directly on the problem, setting ourselves out in a strong and direct manner. Our fans are special and they deserve a type of football that promotes positive and inclusive values. 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.”

They also refused the chance to appeal the punishment levied against them, instead requesting that — after playing against Benevento in an empty stadium — that 10,000 young girls and boys from the Nerazzurri Scuole Calcio and Centro Sportivo Italiano would be allowed to attend the game against Sassuolo, scheduled for Jan. 19.

The Italian FA sanctioned that request, much to the delight of Inter winger Keita Balde. 

“There will always be ignorant people because not everyone has the same education,” the Senegal international told Sky Italia. “But if they don’t learn as children then they won’t learn when they’re 30 or 40 years of age.”

That belief was also held by the opposition, with a number of Sassuolo players speaking out in support of the effort they had seen. 

“The initiative from Inter against racism is very important, as it sends a message to everyone on an issue that is not good for sport,” Ghanaian midfielder Alfred Duncan said shortly before the San Siro clash got underway. “The club is dealing with the situation well, because those who insult are just a minority. I hope the kids will have fun and enjoy this opportunity.”

It certainly seemed as if that were the case, but for Inter it was about much more than providing entertainment. 

“We hope that such a strong and positive anti-discrimination campaign will have the effect of not only silencing the very small minority that persist in such behavior, but also that we can send a clear message to the whole of Italian football,” club CEO Alessandro Antonello told FloFC. “We need to eradicate all forms of discrimination at football grounds.”

While that may feel a long way away from happening, the efforts of Inter were certainly a positive step in the right direction, even if they are fully aware of the work that is still to be done. 

“Although very occasional, unfortunately such behavior is not only present at the San Siro but also at other stadia in Italy,” Antonello continued. “While we are not in favor of closing stadia — which punishes all fans for the behavior of a minority — we hope that through our ‘BUU’ campaign, and thanks to the educational work we conduct on a regular basis in local schools, we can educate the future generation of fan and help eradicate all forms of discrimination from San Siro.”

It certainly will not be easy, but while the initial incident was both unforgivable and outrageously sad, at least Inter have moved to take a positive stance and make a difference for the next generation of supporters.

Adam Digby is an Italian football writer for FourFourTwo, The Independent, and elsewhere. Author of "Juventus: A History In Black & White." Follow Adam on Twitter.

Preview: Reserves, Newcomers Get Chance For DCU Against Union


D.C. United will take the field this evening for their penultimate preseason friendly, when they take on the Philadelphia Union at 7 PM ET at Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex in Clearwater, Florida. On Saturday, the Black-and-Red grinded out a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies as Paul Arriola found the only goal on the night. However, a very different starting lineup will likely take the field tonight for United, with the last preseason game coming on Saturday against the Montreal Impact.

10 Things In Italy: Inter-Icardi Crisis Continues & Pioli Buys Sandwiches

Another seven days has passed in the wonderful world of Italian football, so let FloFC’s 10 Things get you caught up with what’s going on!

Struggling To Score, Carlo Ancelotti & Napoli Are A Team In Transition

As Napoli recorded two consecutive 0-0 draws with Fiorentina and Torino in Serie A, it began to emerge that Carlo Ancelotti’s side have a problem with scoring goals. The Partenopei now sit a staggering 13 points behind top-of-the-table Juventus, and only once before (2006-07) has there been a gap this big between first and second place in the era of three points for a win.

Parsing The Numbers: Goal Differential & Home-Field Advantage In The MLS

No matter the sport, it has always been said that there are certain advantages to playing at home. Whether it’s the roaring of the crowd that brings out the best in players, the social pressure placed on the referees or simply the advantages of playing on a familiar pitch, playing at home does significantly increase a team’s likelihood of winning. But just how much does it change a team’s outcome? Are different teams affected differently when playing on their home turf? If so, what are the variables that contribute to these differences? While we here at FloSports have previously looked at the effects of home court advantage in the Euroleague, today we will look at which MLS teams have performed most differently at home versus on the road. 

3 Tactical Tendencies D.C. United Revealed Against Tampa Bay Rowdies

D.C. United's second Florida preseason camp got off to a winning start on Saturday, when the Black-and-Red took down USL side the Tampa Bay Rowdies in St. Petersburg, Florida. United fielded a strong lineup, with head coach Ben Olsen sending out a starting lineup that is likely to feature on March 3 against Atlanta United. 

3 Potential MLS Breakout Players: Hairston, Krolicki, & Yueill

MLS does not have a Most Improved Player award, but every year, players emerge as stars or quintessential role players who would be deserving of such an honor. Last year, the Dynamo’s Mauro Manotas easily set a career high in goals and became the lone bright spot on a disappointing team. D.C. United’s Luciano Acosta grew into a legitimate superstar after Wayne Rooney’s arrival.

Yankees In Europe: John Brooks Is Back & Tyler Adams Dishes A Pretty Assist

Another weekend of European soccer action, another series of performances by American talent. There has been a wave of Yankees making the move across the Atlantic in recent times and here are some of the best displays turned in over the weekend by Americans currently plying their trade in the big European leagues.

Recap: D.C. United, Led By Paul Arriola's Goal, Beat Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-0

D.C. United got a first-half goal from Paul Arriola as the Black-and-Red defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-0 on Saturday night in St. Petersburg, FL. Playing in the second game of the Suncoast Invitational, Arriola's 34th-minute goal, his first of the preseason, was the only tally of a game that also saw a goal from Wayne Rooney called back by video review. 

Can An MLS Team Win CONCACAF Champions League In 2019?

It’s around this time of year that thoughts turn towards the CONCACAF Champions League. North and Central America’s premier club competition has struggled for an identity at times. Many fans, particularly those of a Major League Soccer persuasion, have issues with the scheduling, but it has grown in stature and significance in recent years.

Preview: Wayne Rooney, D.C. United Take On The Tampa Bay Rowdies

It’s back to the Sunshine State for D.C. United, this time to take part in the 2019 edition of the Suncoast Invitational hosted by the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The game, which begins at 7:30 p.m. ET, is set to be streamed by the Rowdies on their Youtube page. Al Lang Stadium will be the stage for matches involving the hometown club and MLS sides D.C., Philadelphia and Montreal.