Inter striker Romelu Lukaku could receive an executive pardon from FIGC President Gabriele Gravina to lift his suspension for next week’s Coppa Italia semifinal second leg against Juventus.
This according to the online edition of Milan-based newspaper Corriere della Sera, who report that the FIGC (Italian FA) President could intervene to lift the one-match ban to the Nerazzurri striker which was upheld by the court of appeals, in order to make a statement against racism.
Inter presented an appeal to have Lukaku‘s one-match suspension for Wednesday’s match against Juventus lifted to the FIGC’s court of appeals, but the appeal was denied.
The court’s decision was to uphold the suspension to the 29-year-old Belgian international who is therefore still set to miss the second leg of the semifinal tie against the Bianconeri as things stand.
After the court’s decision to reject the appeal was denied, the Nerazzurri released a statement condemning the decision, arguing that “The victim has become the only guilty party” in this instance.
This is a reference to the fact that the second yellow card for which the striker received his suspension came amid a context of racist abuse from Juventus supporters at the first leg of the tie, with a report by FIGC investigators stating a “majority” of fans present in the Tribuna Sud stand could be heard making racist chants.
The Tribuna Sud stand was initially closed down for Juventus’s league match against Napoli, but the Bianconeri successfully appealed to have the stand reopened after they had identified some fans responsible for racist chants and taken actions.
Hence, the club have argued that with the upholding of the suspension of Lukaku for what appeared a relatively innocuous celebration aimed at fans who were racially abusing him, the only concrete punishment handed down by the authorities in the wake of this scandalous incident was directed at the victim at the centre of it.
According to the Corriere della Sera, FIGC President Gravina may well intervene on an executive level for this very reason.
The FIGC President is seriously considering issuing the executive pardon to Lukaku, on the basis of making an institutional gesture against racism in Italian football.
Whilst the FIGC court of appeals rejected Inter’s appeal of the Belgian’s suspension in a decision which is correct by the letter of the law, as suspensions for second yellow cards are virtually never overturned, Gravina may well respond to the highly mitigating circumstances with an executive pardon.
Further confirmation of this being a very serious possibility is provided by a report from Gazzetta.it.