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Serie A soccer club Cagliari once again won’t be punished for the racist behavior of their fans.
The disciplinary tribunal decided on Tuesday that the chants and monkey noises hurled at black Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku during a match earlier this month did not warrant punishment. According to ESPN, the tribunal decided that “the chants could not be considered discriminatory under the league's disciplinary code.”
Lukaku declared the chants racist when they happened on September 1, writing an Instagram post that called for unity among soccer players to stop racism. But the statement released by the tribunal declared that the chants and animal noises heard at the stadium that day "were not interpreted by the stewards nor federation delegates as discriminatory."
The tribunal’s decision echoes the response of the Inter Milan fan group, which posted a message to Lukaku on Facebook defending Cagliari’s chants and bafflingly telling him that there’s no racism in Italy — despite overwhelming evidence that there is.
Even Inter Milan’s chairman defended the actions of Cagliari’s fans, declaring that their “intention was not bad.” He, along with nearly everyone else involved, has seemingly failed to realize that yelling monkey noises at a black player is racist, regardless of the intention.
This isn’t the first time Cagliari has been let off the hook after their fans engaged in racist taunting. Sulley Muntari, an opposing player from Ghana, complained of racist chants during a 2017 game against Cagliari, leading him to walk off the pitch. The Serie A disciplinary tribunal claimed that only 10 fans were involved in that incident, and didn’t discipline the club. And just last season, Cagliari fans hurled racist insults at Moise Kean when he was playing for Juventus. The club wasn’t disciplined for that incident, either.
Italian soccer has been plagued by racism in recent years from both fans and officials. And if the Lukaku incident is any indication, it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
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