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Cagliari fans handed lifetime bans for racist chanting

Enrico Locci / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Milan, Feb 14, 2020 (AFP) - Cagliari have banned three of their supporters for racially abusing opposition players during matches this season, the Serie A club announced on Friday.

In a statement, the Italian side said the bans "will prevent those who are guilty of these deplorable acts from entering the Sardegna Arena, for any event, for life".

The club did not specify for which incidents the fans had been banned, referring only to episodes in "recent months".

The Sardinian club's stadium has been a frequent host to racist abuse from fans towards black players, including Italy striker Moise Kean and his former Juventus teammate Blaise Matuidi.

However it is likely they are referring to Romelu Lukaku, who in September became Italy's most high-profile victim when Cagliari fans aimed monkey chants at him before he scored the decisive penalty in a 2-1 away win.

Lukaku's own club Inter Milan also have a hardcore of far-right supporters who in an open letter insisted the abuse their star striker was subjected to was "not racist".

Elsewhere Hellas Verona fans have aimed monkey chants at Italy international Mario Balotelli this season, while in December Lukaku and Roma defender Chris Smalling were left bemused by a now infamous "Black Friday" front page headline from newspaper Corriere dello Sport about them meeting for the first time in Serie A.

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