Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku will feature in the Coppa Italia semi-final after FIGC president Gabriele Gravina lifted his disqualification. The Inter forward was shown a second booking in the first leg against Juventus after scoring a penalty and celebrating in front of the Curva Sud, who had been racially abusing him for much of the game. The Nerazzurri appealed the subsequent ban, but the decision was upheld by the Court of appeal, meaning Lukaku would be banned for the second-leg, due to be held at San Siro.
ANSA now report that Lukaku will feature after all, following Gravina’s intervention in the case. The president has elected to make the decision in an effort to send a message against racism, which has so often plagued Italian football in recent years.
Gravina is reported as saying: “There are serious reasons to exceptionally and extraordinarily grant a pardon. The principle of combating all forms of racism is a founding element of the sports system. Given that it has emerged unequivocally from the report of the federal prosecutor’s office that the aforementioned footballer was made the object, on several occasions, of serious, repeated and deplorable manifestations of hatred and racial discrimination such as to be able to justify formally non-regulatory behavior and as such evaluated by the match director.”