Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku endured racist jeers during the team’s 1-1 draw against Juventus, according to a statement posted on Twitter by his representatives, Roc Nation Sports International, on Tuesday.
After scoring a 95th-minute equalizer from the penalty spot, Lukaku was handed a second yellow card and sent off for celebrating in front of Juve fans in a Coppa Italia match on Tuesday.
“Tonight’s racist remarks made towards Romelu Lukaku by Juventus fans in Turin were beyond despicable and cannot be accepted,” said Michael Yormark, president of Roc Nation Sports International.
“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 behavior 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,” Yormark added.
Juventus responded with a statement on Twitter saying, “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.”
On Wednesday, Lukaku wrote a message on Instagram along with a picture of him celebrating in Tuesday’s game.
“History repeats. Been through it in 2019.. and 2023 again.. I hope the league really take actions for real this time because this beautiful game should be enjoyed by everyone,” he wrote.
“Thank you for the supportive messages.”
The global soccer players’ union, FIFPRO, also called for “meaningful action against racism and discrimination.”
In a statement Wednesday, it said: “The time for talking and performative measures is over.”
Italian topflight league Serie A issued a statement on Wednesday saying: “Serie A strongly condemns all forms of racism and discrimination. A few people in the stands cannot ruin the spectacle of football and they do not represent the thoughts of all of other the fans and supporters at the stadium, all of whom share the highest values of the sport.
“Serie A Clubs, as they have always done, will identify the guilty individuals and ban them from their respective facilities for life.”
Inter Milan came out in support of Lukaku in a statement on Wednesday, saying, “We want to firmly reiterate that we stand united against racism and all forms of discrimination. 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!” Inter added.
Lukaku, who returned to Inter on loan from Chelsea last summer, has often received racist abuse on the pitch throughout his career, including during his first spell at the Milan club between 2019 and 2021.
In an exclusive interview with CNN in June, 2021, the 29-year-old Belgian said racism in football is at an “all-time high.”
He also urged the CEOs of social media companies to sit down with leading Premier League stars to try and put an end to the abuse that footballers receive online.