Inter’s Lukaku subjected to ‘disgusting’ racism by Juventus fans

Inter Milan striker racially abused before he was shown a second yellow card for a goal celebration, his representatives say.

Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku reacts after being sent off
Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku reacts after being sent off [Massimo Pinca/Reuters]

Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku was targeted by “disgusting” racist abuse before he was sent off for celebrating scoring against Juventus in the Copa Italia semifinal, his representatives said, in the latest allegation of racism to hit Italian football.

Lukaku scored a stoppage-time penalty which secured Inter a 1-1 draw in Tuesday’s first leg but was then shown a second yellow card after the Belgian striker put a finger to his lips in front of home supporters in Turin.

“Tonight’s racist remarks made towards Romelu Lukaku by Juventus fans in Turin were beyond despicable and cannot be accepted,” Michael Yormark, president of Roc Nation Sports International, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Yormark demanded an apology from Juventus for the “hostile and disgusting racist abuse” Lukaku received “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.

Serie A, Italy’s top division, said in a statement on Wednesday that it “strongly condemns all instances of racism” and discrimination, without naming Lukaku.

“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.”

The league will likely open a disciplinary case into the matter, while Juventus said it would collaborate with authorities to identify the fans responsible.

Lukaku, who rejoined Inter Milan on loan from Chelsea last year, was racially abused during matches in his first stint at the Italian club from 2019-21.

This season, Serie A has launched investigations into racist chanting by fans of several clubs.

The incident on Tuesday came on the day Lazio were handed a suspended one-match stand closure for their supporters’ mass anti-Semitic chanting during last month’s Rome derby.

Lazio’s cross-town rivals Roma were also fined 8,000 euros ($8,750) for their fans racially abusing Sampdoria coach Dejan Stankovic on Sunday.

Former Red Star Belgrade, Lazio and Inter Milan midfielder Stankovic was targeted with chants calling him a “gypsy” by hardcore home supporters until Roma coach Jose Mourinho demanded they stop.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies