Lukaku suspension overturned after racism row furore
ROME - Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku on Saturday had his one-match suspension, imposed for reacting to racist abuse, revoked by Italian football chiefs after an angry backlash.
Belgian star Lukaku received the ban after picking up two yellow cards, the second for his goal celebration in front of Juventus fans after a stoppage-time penalty which secured Inter a 1-1 Italian Cup draw in Turin two weeks ago.
The Belgium striker held his finger to his mouth and told Juve supporters to "shut up".
"The principle of the fight against all forms of racism constitutes one of the founding principles of the sporting order," said Gabriele Gravina, the president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) after overturning the ban.
He said that the player "has been the target, on several occasions, of serious, repeated and despicable racial hatred and discrimination, at a level capable of justifying formally unlawful conduct." The decision means that Lukaku can now play in the second leg of the semi-final in Milan on Wednesday.
"I am really happy about this decision from the president of the FIGC, who has shown great sensitivity to the situation," said the 29-year-old Lukaku in a statement.
"I believe that thanks to the intervention, justice has been done and this sends out a great message to the whole world of sport and beyond. This has shown that the desire is there to fight racism." Inter had been outraged when Juventus won their appeal against a one-match stand closure imposed for their fans' abuse of Lukaku. - AFP