London (AFP) – Romelu Lukaku says football must take “stronger” action in the fight against racism, questioning the impact of players taking the knee before Premier League matches.
Lukaku’s Chelsea team-mate Marcos Alonso this week explained his decision to stop making the gesture, deciding instead to stand and point to the “No To Racism” badge on his shirt.
Last season, Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha stopped taking the knee, labelling it “degrading” and opting to stand instead.
Belgium international Lukaku understands those opinions, pointing to the continuing online abuse aimed at black players.
“I think we can take stronger positions, basically,” Lukaku told CNN Sport.
“Yeah, we are taking the knee but in the end everybody’s clapping but sometimes after the game, you see another insult.”
Lukaku wants high-profile players to sit down with social media bosses and other stakeholders to help tackle the issue of racism on their platforms.
“The captains of every team, and four or five players, like the big personalities of every team, should have a meeting with the CEOs of Instagram and governments and the FA (Football Association) and the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association), and we should just sit around the table and have a big meeting about it,” Lukaku said.
“I think all of us together, have a big meeting and talk about stuff that needs to be addressed to protect the players.
“If you want to stop something, you can really do it.”
Lukaku was speaking to CNN Sport around the launch of Chelsea’s “No To Hate” photography competition, which is encouraging fans of the club around the world to send in their photos that show the diversity within the Chelsea community.
“I think right now, from the owner to us, the players, we as a club, we are really putting out a statement and taking a position that stuff like that should not be tolerated,” Lukaku said.
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