Serie A condemns racism after Juventus fans abuse Lukaku
MILAN – The Italian Serie A on Wednesday condemned “all instances of racism” in Italian football after Romelu Lukaku was abused during Inter Milan’s cup semi-final clash at Juventus.
The 29-year-old scored a stoppage-time penalty, which secured Inter a 1-1 draw in Tuesday’s first leg but was then sent off after his celebrations in front of the Juve fans earned him a second booking.
The Belgium striker held his finger to his mouth and told supporters to “shut up”, but reports of monkey chants were only confirmed late on Tuesday by his representatives Roc Nation after neither Inter nor Juve made any mention of them post-match.
“Serie A strongly condemns all instances of racism and any form of discrimination,” Italy’s top division said in a statement.
“A few people in the stands can’t ruin football and don’t represent all the fans at the stadium... Serie A clubs will, as they always have, be able to find the individuals responsible and ban them for life from their grounds.”
On Tuesday night, Roc Nation Sports International president Michael Yormark demanded an apology from Juve for “hostile and disgusting racist abuse” Lukaku received from some home supporters “before, during and after the penalty”.
“The Italian authorities must use this opportunity to tackle racism, rather than punish the victim of the abuse,” he added.
The incident was yet another case of racism in Italian football stadiums and came on the day Lazio were handed a suspended one-match stand closure for their supporters’ mass anti-Semitic chanting during the Rome derby in March.
Lazio’s cross-town rivals Roma were also fined €8,000 for their fans racially abusing Sampdoria coach Dejan Stankovic on Sunday.
Former Red Star Belgrade, Lazio and Inter midfielder Stankovic was targeted with chants calling him a “gypsy” by hardcore home supporters, until Roma coach Jose Mourinho demanded that they stop. — AFP