Anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out have described the decision as “cowardly”, while a section of the Inter Milan ultras group ‘Curva Nord’ recently insisted the racist abuse aimed at Lukaku in Cagliari was not meant to be racist.
Conte says he has been saddened to find the situation in Italy has worsened since he left for England – where he had a very different experience.
“I came back to Italy to find more bitterness. This is not nice. I have found Italy in a worse situation,” said Conte.
“All insults, not just racism is a problem. It exists in Italy and I think it is getting worse.
“We are all responsible. It is easy to report racism afterwards but more needs to be done. More respect is needed. We all need to take a long hard look at ourselves.
“I had an experience in England. But there is zero tolerance there. It needs to be the same here.
“In England it is a family atmosphere. In Italy we need to start making changes.
“People go to the grounds thinking they can insult and incite hatred. Fans should support their team and it should end there.”
Conte is concerned that unless action is taken to tackle the problem it will continue to worsen for years to come.
“I think we need to send strong messages. You cannot incite violence or hatred. That is the message that needs to be sent. The press have a key role,” he added.
“Those that read need to see the message. We cannot keep on this path. Things need to change.
“The new generation otherwise will get the wrong message. I am worried about the next generation.”
AC Milan’s initiative is aimed at increasing awareness of the problem and making it easier to monitor racism online and in the stands.
The joint message ahead of the 171st Milan derby is one which AC Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis hopes will strike a chord.