First insulted, then sent off: A racism scandal involving star striker Romelu Lukaku (29) overshadowed the semi-final first leg in the Italian Cup between Juventus Turin and Inter Milan (1-1).
Lukaku had scored for Inter with a penalty in added time to equalize and had been racially abused “before, during and after the penalty”, according to his agency. After his goal, the Belgian was sent off with yellow and red.
Lukaku, already warned, celebrated the equalizer in front of the Juve fans after the penalty – he saluted and put his index finger on his mouth. His advisor Michael Yormark expects the dismissal to be withdrawn.
Incidents of racism in Italian football are not new
The Italian FA should “use this opportunity to fight racism instead of punishing the victim of abuse,” it said in a statement. He also demanded an apology from Juve for the “hostile and disgusting racist abuse”. The second leg for a place in the Coppa Italia final will take place in Milan on April 26.
“History repeats itself,” wrote Lukaku, who has often been racially insulted, on Instagram: “I hope the league really does something this time, because this beautiful game should be enjoyed by everyone.”
Serie A condemned “in the strongest terms all cases 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 they don’t represent all the fans in the stadium.” Those responsible should be identified and banned from the stadium “for life”.
Juventus announced cooperation with the Italian police, as the club announced and affirmed its commitment to “racism and discrimination”.
Racism scandals are common in Italian football. Only last weekend the coach of Sampdoria Genoa was insulted, recently the fans of Lazio Rome attracted attention again with massive anti-Semitic chants.