Representatives of Romelu Lukaku – Roc Nation Sports International – on Wednesday, reacted to the Belgium striker been sent off for celebrating scoring against Juventus in the Copa Italia semifinal.
The president of the Roc Nation said the Inter Milan striker was targeted by “disgusting” racist abuse before he was sent off by the referees, in the latest allegation of racism to hit Italian football.
Inter Milan striker scored a stoppage-time penalty which secured Inter a 1-1 draw in Tuesday’s first leg but was then shown a second yellow card after the Belgian striker put a finger to his lips in front of home supporters in Turin.
The incident on Tuesday came on the day Lazio were handed a suspended one-match stand closure for their supporters’ mass anti-Semitic chanting during last month’s Rome derby.
Lazio’s cross-town rivals Roma were also fined 8,000 euros ($8,750) for their fans racially abusing Sampdoria coach Dejan Stankovic on Sunday.
“Tonight’s racist remarks made towards Romelu Lukaku by Juventus fans in Turin were beyond despicable and cannot be accepted,” Michael Yormark, president of Roc Nation Sports International, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Yormark demanded an apology from Juventus for the “hostile and disgusting racist abuse” Lukaku received “before, during and after the penalty”.
“The Italian authorities must use this opportunity to tackle racism, rather than punish the victim of the abuse,” he added.
Serie A, Italy’s top division, said in a statement on Wednesday that it “strongly condemns all instances of racism” and discrimination, without naming Lukaku.
“A few people in the stands can’t ruin football and don’t represent all the fans at the stadium … Serie A clubs will, as they always have, be able to find the individuals responsible and ban them for life from their grounds.”
The league will likely open a disciplinary case into the matter, while Juventus said it would collaborate with authorities to identify the fans responsible.
Lukaku, who rejoined Inter Milan on loan from Chelsea last year, was racially abused during matches in his first stint at the Italian club from 2019-21.
This season, Serie A has launched investigations into racist chanting by fans of several clubs.
Former Red Star Belgrade, Lazio and Inter Milan midfielder Stankovic was targeted with chants calling him a “gypsy” by hardcore home supporters until Roma coach Jose Mourinho demanded they stop.