Milan: Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku has urged Serie A to take action after he was subjected to racial abuse during Tuesday’s Coppa Italia draw with Juventus, with the Turin side saying they were collaborating with police to find those responsible.
Lukaku scored a stoppage-time penalty to cancel out a late goal by Juve midfielder Juan Cuadrado and earn Inter a 1-1 semi-final first-leg draw in Turin.
During his celebrations, the Belgian striker held his finger up to his mouth in front of Juve fans. The gesture was judged to be provocative and he was sent off after a second yellow card.
Demanding an apology
In a statement released late on Tuesday, US-based sports agency Roc Nation, which represents Lukaku, demanded Juventus apologise to the striker.
“Tonight’s racist remarks made towards Romelu Lukaku by Juventus fans in Turin were beyond despicable and cannot be accepted,” Roc Nation Sports International president Michael Yormark said.
“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.
“The Italian authorities must use this opportunity to tackle racism, rather than punish the victim of the abuse.”
On Wednesday, Juventus said they were “collaborating with the police to identify those responsible for the racist gestures and chants which took place last night.”
Lukaku, on loan at Inter from Chelsea, was also the target of offensive chants in 2019, which he condemned in a social media post at the time.
“History repeats... Been through it in 2019. and 2023 again..,” Lukaku said in a post on Instagram on Wednesday.
“I hope the league really take actions for real this time because this beautiful game should be enjoyed by everyone...”
Racism has been a long-running problem in Italian football and authorities have been criticised for not taking strong enough action.
On Wednesday, Serie A put out a statement condemning racism, adding, “clubs, as they have always done, will identify the guilty individuals and ban them from their respective facilities for life.”
The league did not name Lukaku in their statement.