Message to fans from Serie A: Don’t throw plastic bottles, hurling racist abuse is OK

September 18 – Cagliari won’t be punished for the racist abused by its fans aimed at Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku during the club’s Serie A match in September, but it will have to pay a €5,000 fine for fans throwing plastic bottles on to the pitch at Parma on Sunday

Belgian striker Lukaku was abused by Cagliari  fans on September 1 as he prepared to convert the winning penalty for his team in a league game.

The Inter player looked upset and in a social media post he slammed football’s attitude towards racism, saying that the game is regressing when it comes to the issue, but the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) didn’t get the message: its sporting panel ruled that the chants could not be considered discriminatory in terms of their “scale and realisation.”

A statement from Serie A said the panel had therefore decided not to apply sanctions to Cagliari. Local police relayed to FIGC that “only on the occasion” of Lukaku’s penalty were “chants, shouts and whistles aimed at the opposition athlete as he prepared to take his shot.”

On social media, videos circulated that clearly showed individual spectators chanting abuse at the Belgian, but it was argued that because of the volume of the noise emanating from the stand it was not clear what was being said and so it could not be proven that it was discriminatory. Cagliari were, though, slapped with a fine of €5,000 after fans threw bottles on to the pitch during Sunday’s 3-1 win at Parma.

The FIGC ruling is baffling and a further indictment of how Italian football authorities are so overtly unwilling to combat the rampant racism at their football grounds.

After the match Inter coach Antonio Conte said he hadn’t heard the monkey noises at the address of Lukaku. The incident didn’t make the front pages of any of Italy’s three leading sports dailies.

Last season Everton’s Moise Kean suffered similar abuse when playing for Juventus, but his teammate Leonardo Bonucci however claimed that Kean was partly responsible. Previously, Blaise Matuidi and Sulley Muntari were also targeted by Cagliari fans, but Italian football authorities did little, except banning Muntari for his protest.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1571641369labto1571641369ofdlr1571641369owedi1571641369sni@o1571641369fni1571641369