Inter fury as racism victim Lukaku punished

AFP , Friday 21 Apr 2023

Inter Milan on Friday condemned striker Romelu Lukaku's Italian Cup semi-final ban saying the "victim" of racist abuse had become the "only guilty party" after Juventus won an appeal against a stand closure.

Inter Milan s Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku reacts at the end of the Italian Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Monza at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, on April 15, 2023. Photo: AFP)


The Italian Football Federation's (FIGC) appeals court confirmed Lukaku's suspension meaning he will be unable to compete in Wednesday's semi-final, second leg in the San Siro.

On Friday, Inter Milan said it was saddened "that the victim has become the only guilty party".

Lukaku received the suspension after picking up two yellow cards, the second for his goal celebration on front of Juventus fans after a stoppage-time penalty which secured Inter a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Turin.

The Belgium striker held his finger to his mouth as he has after scoring for his country and told Juve supporters to "shut up".

On Wednesday, Juventus won their appeal against a one-match stand closure imposed for their fans abuse of Lukaku.

Fans will be allowed in the lower tier of the Allianz Stadium's South Stand for Sunday night's clash with Serie A leaders Napoli after the decision by the FIGC's appeals court.

The latest incident of racism in an Italian stadium had sparked condemnation notably from France's Kylian Mbappe and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

"History repeats itself," Lukaku wrote on Instagram after the incident.

"Been through it in 2019... and 2023 again...", referring to when three-and-a-half years ago, Inter's hardcore ultras told him that monkey chants directed at him by Cagliari fans were not racist.

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