Romelu Lukaku has Coppa Italia ban overturned by FIGC as Inter boss Simone Inzaghi hails strong 'message against racism'
- Lukaku suspended after controversial red card vs Juventus
- Coppa Italia ban has been overturned
- Move praised by Inter boss Inzaghi
WHAT HAPPENED? After scoring a last-minute equaliser in a recent Coppa Italia match at the Allianz Arena in which he faced shocking racist abuse from Juve fans, Inter striker Romelu Lukaku was controversially sent off by referee Davide Massa for a celebration that was deemed provocative. However, following an appeal launched by the FIGC (Italian football's governing body), the ban has been overturned in a move praised as an important message against racists.
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WHAT THEY SAID: After the Juve game, Romelu Lukaku's message to the bigots was clear: "F*ck racism!" He was backed up by Inter boss Simone Inzaghi, who has spoken out in favour of the decision to overturn the ban: “I am happy for Rom, but also very happy for the message the Federation wanted to send to everyone, especially young people, in the fight against racism."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: This is not the first time Romelu Lukaku has faced racist abuse from fans, and the Belgian striker has been critical of the lack of an appropriate response from the authorities. In an Instagram post after the Juventus match, he wrote: "History repeats. [I've] 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*ck racism."
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WHAT'S NEXT FOR LUKAKU? Given his exploits in Serie A, you'd be forgiven for forgetting that Lukaku is still contracted at Chelsea, and could end up back in the Blues' squad for next season. However, his future is very much up in the air, with reports stating that he's seeking a permanent deal at Inter this summer. His position may change depending on which manager comes through the door at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, though.