Juventus have been handed a one-match partial stadium closure by Serie A after supporters racially abused Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku during the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final.
The incident took place after Lukaku converted a stoppage-time penalty to help Inter secure a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.
The Belgian striker was shown a second yellow card for celebrating in front of the home fans, who subjected him to abuse.
The game also saw scuffles break out between both sets of players, resulting in Inter captain Samir Handanovic and Juve midfielder Juan Cuadrado being sent off after the final whistle.
Lukaku, who has been vocal about racism in the past, called on Serie A to take action after the incident.
On Thursday, Serie A ruled that the Tribuna Sud section of Juventus’ Allianz Stadium, which has a capacity of around 5,000, must be closed for one match, which will be against league leaders Napoli on April 23.
In a statement, Serie A said, “The supporters of Juventus occupying the first tier of the sector known as the tribuna sud, during the 35th and 49th minutes of the second half shouted vulgar and insulting choruses and shouts of racial discrimination against the player of Internazionale Romelu Lukaku Bolingoli.”
The disciplinary ruling from the judge also saw Lukaku suspended for the second leg of the cup tie, while Handanovic will serve a one-game ban and Cuadrado is set for a three-match suspension.
Following Tuesday’s game, Juventus said they were “collaborating with the police to identify those responsible for the racist gestures and chants which took place.”
It is vital that those responsible are held accountable for their actions and that racism is eradicated from football.
Racism has been a persistent problem in Italian football, with several high-profile incidents in recent years.
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has implemented anti-racism measures, but it is clear that more needs to be done to address the issue.
Fans who engage in racist behavior should be banned from attending matches, and clubs must take a zero-tolerance approach towards racism.
The partial stadium closure is a step in the right direction, but it is just one of many measures that need to be taken to address the issue of racism in Italian football.
It is up to the footballing authorities, clubs, and fans to work together to ensure that all players are treated with respect and that racism has no place in the beautiful game.