Following incidents of racial abuse directed towards Romelu Lukaku and Dusan Vlahovic during different Serie A matches last season, changes have been implemented in Italian football. Lukaku was targeted by Juventus fans in a Coppa Italia game, while Vlahovic faced abuse from Atalanta supporters.

In response to these distressing incidents, both players reacted, leading to their caution by the referees. This decision sparked controversy within the Italian media. However, the cautions were later overturned. Consequently, it has been decided that players expressing frustration due to racial abuse will no longer receive bookings unless their reactions exceed acceptable limits.

Gianluca Rocchi, Serie A’s refereeing designator, has confirmed this update, indicating that players will no longer be penalised for demonstrating their dissatisfaction when subjected to racial abuse. This change aims to address the issue of racism more effectively in Italian football.

He said via Football Italia:

“We referees of all people know what it means to be insulted, especially in the lower leagues.

“It is not right to punish the victims. If players receive racist abuse and protest towards the crowd, they will no longer receive a yellow card, unless, of course, they go over the top.”

Juve FC Says

The authorities have made the right decision on this matter and we hope it changes much in the game.

The main goal remains to eliminate the racists from our stands, but that will not be easy to achieve.