Juventus have been handed a one-game partial stadium ban after some of the club’s fans directed racist chants at Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgium forward was shown a second yellow card for his celebrations in front of the home fans after converting a stoppage-time penalty to earn Inter a 1-1 draw in Turin in Tuesday night’s Coppa Italia semi-final first leg.
A chaotic end to the Allianz Stadium encounter ensued as scuffles broke out between the two sets of players, resulting in Inter captain Samir Handanovic and Juve midfielder Juan Cuadrado being sent off after the final whistle.
Lukaku was suspended for the second leg of the semi-finals on April 26 by the Italian league judge on Thursday. Handanovic is also banned for one game while Cuadrado is to miss three.
Serie A have decided that the lower tier of Juventus’ South Stand, which holds around 5,000 seats, will be closed for their next home game, against league leaders Napoli on April 23.
Juventus are “collaborating with the police” to identify those responsible for the racist gestures and chants.
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.”
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…”
Inter also reiterated their stance against racism and expressed their support for Lukaku.
“We want to firmly reiterate that we stand united against racism and all forms of discrimination,” a statement read.
“Football and sport must not only be a place for emotion but also for clear and shared values, and what we saw last night in the final minutes of the Juventus vs Inter Coppa Italia semi-final in Turin has no place in our sport.
“This is why we reiterate our support, affection and solidarity to Romelu Lukaku, just as the world of football is doing from all over since the incident.
“Stay strong Rom, we stand with you!”
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.