171 Juventus supporters have been banned by Italian police after an investigation into the racist abuse directed at Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku during the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg earlier this month.
The Belgian striker was subjected to monkey chants from a section of Juventus supporters behind the goal after he converted a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time to salvage a 1-1 draw.
Video footage showed Juventus fans chanting ‘f***ing monkey’ and ‘f*** off’ at Lukaku, who was shown a second yellow card and sent off for shushing them during his celebrations with the referee deciding his gesture was provocative.
Inter appealed Lukaku’s ban but it was originally upheld by Italy’s Sports Court of Appeal, before the president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), Gabriele Gravina, personally intervened and overturned the ban on Saturday as a measure to fight racism, meaning the striker can play in all-to-play-for Wednesday’s second leg.
After the decision to overturn his ban, Lukaku said: ‘I believe that thanks to his intervention justice has been done and this sends out a great message to the whole world of sport and beyond. This has shown that the desire is there to fight racism.’
The 171 supporters responsible for the racist chanting will be subjected to the Daspo, effectively a stadium banning order – and will also be hit with fines for violating regulations in regard to orderly behaviour in stadiums.
The Daspo is a regulation which was originally put in place by Italian authorities to ban hooligans from football stadiums and is designed to prevent violence and anti-social behaviour surrounding sporting events.
Following news regarding the bans, a statement read: ‘There are 171 Juventus fans who will be subjected to the Daspo provision by the Turin Police Headquarters.
‘It is the result of the investigation by the Digos (The General Investigations and Special Operations Division) in Turin, in the context of the fight against racial discrimination in sport, and is impressive work through audio and video.
‘This made it possible to identify those who, during Juventus vs Inter at the Allianz Stadium on April 4 in the semi-final of the Italian Cup, launched chants and howls addressed to the Inter player Lukaku.