Romelu Lukaku’s suspension upheld by Serie A but Juventus partial stadium closure for racist chants overturned

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untitled design 2023 04 21t094416 708

Serie A ruled on two appeals following the contentious draw between Juventus and Inter on April 4 in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semifinal matchup. That match saw Romelu Lukaku receive a second yellow card in the 95th minute for his celebration after scoring the game-tying penalty. Lukaku, who had been racially abused by the crowd made a shushing motion to the Juventus fans to draw the yellow which comes with a one game suspension.

Inter lost the appeal against Lukaku’s second yellow card meaning that the one game suspension will stand. Juventus meanwhile won their appeal against the closure of the section of the stadium where the chants were most demonstrably coming from meaning fans will be able to attend the home match this Sunday against Napoli. 

Lukaku, after scoring the penalty at the last minute of the match, celebrated by putting his finger in front of his mouth, also saying “shut up” to the home fans who targeted him since he came in on the pitch in the second half. Videos surfaced of fans appearing to make monkey noises around his penalty kick. 

The referee booked him for the second time after his celebration. Lukaku got his first yellow card of the game for a foul on Juventus defender Federico Gatti minutes before the final whistle. The rule says that a player must be booked if he provokes the opposing fans, however, in this case, the decision of the referee seemed harsh for a number of reasons. Obviously there is the fact that Lukaku was being abused, but in addition to that, the striker has frequently celebrated goals in the same way and avoided bookings.

Following the ruling Inter released a statement, standing by their player.

“The FIGC’s National Court of Appeal today confirmed the suspension of Romelu Lukaku, who will be unable to participate in Wednesday’s Coppa Italia semi-final. FC Internazionale Milano feels it must consolidate its support for the player and expresses great sorrow at the fact that the victim has become the only guilty party.”

Lukaku’s reaction made a lot of noise around the globe, as predictable. Players such as Kylian Mbappe or Vinicius Jr. supported the Belgian striker in public, and Lukaku himself posted about it on Instagram after the match. “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…Thank you for the supportive messages. F— racism.”

The Italian Giudice Sportivo ruled that the laws of the sport had been followed and Lukaku will be suspended for the second leg that will take place next Wednesday, April 26, at San Siro, but also controversially decided for the closure of the “South Grandstand” for one game, the sector where most of the videos showed the racial abuse by the home fans, should be overturned. 

Juventus started an internal investigation and identified two fans who had committed the actions, and reportedly punished them with bans, but also successfully appealed against the decision, and fans in the section will be able to attend the match against Napoli this Sunday.

The bottom line is that after being racially abused in Turin, Lukaku one-match ban is upheld, but Juventus will not have to keep any section of their stadium closed for even a single match.

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Publish Date:2023-04-21 21:54:51

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