Lukaku calls for ‘real action’ after racist abuse

MILAN (Agencies): Romelu Lukaku says Serie A must take “action for real this time” after he was racially abused by Juventus fans before being sent off on Tuesday.
He was shown a second yellow card for holding his finger to his lips in front of the home fans after scoring a 95th-minute penalty in the Coppa Italia tie.

“History repeats itself,” the Inter Milan striker wrote on Instagram. “Been through it in 2019 and 2023 again. “This beautiful game should be enjoyed by everyone.”
He added: “I hope the league really take actions for real this time.”

Michael Yormark, president of Lukaku’s representatives Roc Nation Sports International, said the abuse was “beyond despicable”. Juventus said they would work with police to identify those responsible following the game.

A statement read: “Juventus Football Club, as always, are collaborating with the police to identify those responsible for the racist gestures and chants which took place last night.” Scuffles broke out between players from both sides after Lukaku’s equaliser.

Inter captain Samir Handanovic and midfielder Juan Cuadrado were shown red cards after the final whistle, with the fracas continuing down the tunnel. “Tonight’s racist remarks made towards Romelu Lukaku by Juventus fans in Turin were beyond despicable and cannot be accepted,” Yormark said in a statement.

“Romelu scored a penalty late in the game. Before, during and after the penalty, he was subjected to hostile and disgusting racist abuse. “Romelu celebrated in the same manner he has previously celebrated goals. The referee’s response was to award a yellow card to Romelu.

“Romelu deserves an apology from Juventus and I expect the league to condemn the behaviour of this group of Juventus supporters immediately.

“The Italian authorities must use this opportunity to tackle racism, rather than punish the victim of the abuse.” Lukaku, who returned to Inter on loan from Chelsea last summer, suffered racist abuse during his first spell at Inter between 2019 and 2021.

In September 2019 he said the game “was going backwards” after he was racially abused by Cagliari fans. Cagliari were later cleared of racist chanting, with Piara Powar – chief of anti-discriminatory body Fare – claiming the disciplinary systems to combat racism in Italian football were “not fit for purpose”.

In September 2021, Lukaku said racism in football was at an “all-time high” and that players, football authorities and social media could do more to tackle the issue.
In January, Serie A opened an investigation into allegations of racist abuse aimed towards Lukaku by Napoli fans.

The same day Lazio supporters racially abused Samuel Umtiti and Lameck Banda of Lecce, with the club later ordered to close part of their stadium for their next match.