Another racial storm hits Chelsea

Loic Nego of Vidi scoring his side's second goal with a sumptuous volley past the challenge of Chelsea defender Emerson Palmieri into the top corner. The Hungarian team later conceded an equaliser as both sides took a share of the spoils in a 2-2 dra
Loic Nego of Vidi scoring his side's second goal with a sumptuous volley past the challenge of Chelsea defender Emerson Palmieri into the top corner. The Hungarian team later conceded an equaliser as both sides took a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Club vow to take 'strongest action' against fans singing anti-Semitic chants in Hungary

BUDAPEST • Chelsea's reputation took another withering blow on Thursday, with the club condemning their own fans after they were heard singing anti-Semitic chants in Hungary, just days after four fans were suspended for the alleged racial abuse of Raheem Sterling.

This was their first match since last Saturday's Premier League victory over Manchester City, which was overshadowed by the vitriol directed at the Englishman.

But, just minutes into their Europa League dead rubber at Vidi, the away supporters were heard singing a derogatory chant about London rivals Tottenham, who are known to have a significant Jewish following.

Maurizio Sarri's men were attempting to put the Sterling controversy behind them but instead, the Group L winners, who had already qualified for the last 32, were left facing another discrimination storm following the 2-2 draw.

Afterwards, the Premier League club issued a strongly-worded statement, saying: "Anti-Semitism and any other kind of race-related or religious hatred is abhorrent to this club and the overwhelming majority of our fans.

"It has no place at Chelsea or in any of our communities. We have stated this loud and clear on many occasions from the owner, the board, coaches and players.

"Any individual that can't summon the brainpower to comprehend this simple message and are found to have shamed the club by using anti-Semitic or racist words or actions will face the strongest possible action from the club."

EDUCATE AND REFORM

If you just ban people, you will never change their behaviour. This policy gives them the chance to realise what they have done, to make them want to behave better.

BRUCE BUCK, Chelsea chief, on sending racist fans to concentration camps.

Uefa said that it would wait to receive official reports before launching an investigation.

"As is standard procedure, we will be waiting for official reports from the game before deciding if any action/investigation into any alleged misbehaviour should be launched," a statement from European football's governing body read.

The Blues have long had a history of their fans making anti-Semitic taunts towards Spurs supporters, and the club were forced to make a public statement condemning their actions in the most recent high-profile case in October.

In January, Chelsea announced a new campaign, supported by their Russian-Jewish owner Roman Abramovich, to "raise awareness of and educate our players, staff, fans and the wider community about anti-Semitism in football".

The club also told The Sun in October that they intend to send racist supporters on trips to Auschwitz, the former Nazi concentration camp, instead of imposing banning orders.

In an interview with the paper, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck then said: "If you just ban people, you will never change their behaviour.

"This policy gives them the chance to realise what they have done, to make them want to behave better."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2018, with the headline 'Another racial storm hits Chelsea'. Print Edition | Subscribe