In an extraordinary development, Serie A club Cagliari again escaped sanctions over alleged racist behaviour by their fans.
This was after the league’s disciplinary tribunal decided on Tuesday not to take action over monkey noises aimed at Inter Milan’s Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku.
The tribunal said in a statement on Tuesday that “in terms of dimension and real perception”, the chants could not be considered discriminatory under the league’s disciplinary code.
“The tribunal has decided not to apply sanctions to Cagliari,” it said, referring to the incidents in the match on Sept 1.
Cagliari were, however, fined 5,000 euros ($5,530) after their fans threw plastic bottles onto the field in a 3-1 win at Parma on Sunday.
Against Inter, monkey noises could be heard from the Cagliari supporters as Lukaku stepped up to take a penalty which he converted to give his side a 2-1 win.
The tribunal said in a statement that public security officials had informed it of “chants, animal noises and jeering” towards Lukaku.
It added, however, that “these were not interpreted by the stewards nor federation delegates as discriminatory.”
In 2017, Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari, playing for Pescara at the time, walked off the pitch, also complaining of racist abuse at Cagliari’s ground.
Serie A took no action against Cagliari, saying only around 10 fans were involved.
Italian football has been fraught with racism in recent times, with critics blaming the league management for its soft stance against offenders.