Slavia Prague Deny Romelu Lukaku's Racism Claims After Champions League Match

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2019

Slavia's Michal Frydrych, left, duels for the ball with Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku during the Champions League group F soccer match between Slavia Praha and Inter Milan at the Sinobo stadium in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Petr David Josek/Associated Press

Slavia Prague have rejected Romelu Lukaku's accusation the crowd at the club's Sinobo Stadium racially abused him during their UEFA Champions League match against Inter Milan on Wednesday, demanding an apology from the Belgian striker.

Lukaku said he heard chants from the entire stadium after Lautaro Martinez scored in the 3-1 win. While the Czech club acknowledged it had apologised for the behavior of some "individuals," it argued Lukaku's wording was inaccurate:

SK Slavia Prague EN @slavia_eng

We must reject that there has been racist chanting of the whole stadium. We analysed available footages, and none confirmed Mr Lukaku’s statement. The club has already apologised for individuals’ behaviour and it would be appropriate for Mr Lukaku to apologise for his words too. https://t.co/6luusPP1tC

Sport Witness questioned the club's claim they apologised in the aftermath of Lukaku's accusation:

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

@slavia_eng Where's this apology from you? Because it doesn't seem to be on either your English or Czech website or Twitter. Yet demanding Lukaku apologise is across both languages. Not a great look.

Lukaku played a crucial role in the win, scoring once and assisting both of Martinez's goals. He showed off his tremendous footwork by the team's third and final goal (U.S. viewers only):

B/R Football @brfootball

Lautaro Martinez's goal vs. Slavia Prague wins Champions League Goal of the Week 🌟 That @RomeluLukaku9 assist 🤯 https://t.co/KR4aSNSnQg

The win moved Inter into second place in Group F and knocked Slavia out of European contention. Slavia's last outing will be against Borussia Dortmund, who are vying with the Nerazzurri for second place in the group.

Lukaku has been the target of racist chants on several occasions this season, including in a Serie A match against Cagliari in September. A group of Inter fans came to the defence of the Calgiari fans in the aftermath, per Football Italia.

Per BBC Sport, Italian pundit Luciano Passirani was banned from appearing on the TV show Qui Studio a Voi Stadio in mid-September for saying opponents should give the 26-year-old "10 bananas to eat" in order to stop him.

Serie A committed to fighting racist abuse on Friday, publishing an open letter backed by all clubs:

Lega Serie A @SerieA_EN

Together with the 20 Serie A TIM clubs, we’ve issued this open letter. We're publicly committing ourselves to tackling racism. 🔗https://t.co/5U1BCbQ7ZZ

Lukaku has found plenty of success early at Inter since completing his transfer this summer. In 13 Serie A matches, he has already found the net 10 times. His strike against Slavia was also the 250th senior goal of his career.