The President of Roc Nation Sports International has released a statement condemning the decision by the FIGC (Italian FA) to uphold the suspension to Inter striker Romelu Lukaku for next week’s match against Juventus on appeal.

Writing in a message on the organization’s official Twitter account, Roc Nation Sports International President Michael Yormark argued that the fact that the appeal to have the 29-year-old’s suspension lifted was rejected shows the continued problems with racism in football.

Inter attempted to have the one-match suspension that Lukaku received for the second leg of their Coppa Italia semifinal tie against Juventus lifted, but were unsuccessful.

The club had hoped that the mitigating circumstances of the Belgian having been the subject of racist chants from Bianconeri fans in the stand where he aimed his celebration would move the FIGC national court of appeals to take the unusual step of lifting a suspension for two yellow cards.

However, the FIGC did not see it this way, and has made the decision to uphold the Inter striker’s suspension, meaning that he will not be available for Wednesday evening’s match against the Bianconeri at the San Siro.

Given that Lukaku had in fact been the victim of racist abuse from some fans in the stands, the fact that he is being punished in this manner for reacting to the abuse has been a source of controversy, as it seems to cast the Belgian as being in the wrong in the situation rather than the continued problem that is racism in Italian football.

This is certainly the view of Yormark and Roc Nation, who say in a statement that “It is concerning that the FIGC national court of appeals have decided to uphold Romelu Lukaku’s suspension.”

“All this demonstrates is that more needs to be done by football’s governing bodies to protect players on the pitch.”

“This further fuels our desire for change.”

“Roc Nation will not give up this fight. We will challenge the authorities on all fronts.”