A number of Juventus fans picked up bans and fines from Italian police stemming from racist abuse they hailed at Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku. The incidents occurred after Lukaku leveled a Coppa Italia semifinal game late in Turin. Juventus fans behind the goal where the Belgian scored laid into Lukaku. Inexplicably, Lukaku picked up a second yellow card during the incident, ruling him out of the second leg at the San Siro.

Originally, Juventus fans in that section of the stadium had a one-match ban. The next home game for Juventus would have that section empty, leaving thousands of seats open for a home game. However, the punishments did not stop there. Italian police say it identified 250 individuals to participate in the racist abuse. The investigation from officials is still underway, with more individual punishments coming to select fans.

However, the ugly scenes from this game are not cast solely by Juventus fans. In fact, the investigation found that Inter supporters were chanting “Liverpool, Liverpool” during the contest. This was in relation to the Heysel disaster in 1985, where dozens of Juventus fans died. While this may have pestered the Juventus fans, it was in no way discretionary for the racist abuse.

The police findings will also turn over to sport authorities in Italy and Europe for possible further punishments.

Juventus fans not alone in racist abuse out of Italy

Racist abuse towards soccer players is a major problem in European soccer. While the issue may take headlines in Italy, it is not selective to that country. Just this season, a group of Atletico Madrid supporters hung a doll of Vinicius Jr. from a bridge, which was the latest in a sadly high number of racist incidents involving the Brazilian star. In England, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho all received a hefty quantity of abuse after England lost in the European Championships.

The racist abuse in Italy is, of course, well-documented. Verona played one game behind closed doors following racist chants in 2022. Players have walked off the pitch on a number of occasions following racist abuse from Italian fans. The stadium bans for these foul Juventus supporters are at the very least a step in the right direction.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Sportimage