Football: Sarri blasts 'stupid' people in Chelsea's fight against racism

In every community, there are some stupids, said Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.
In every community, there are some stupids, said Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri believes his club's battle to curb racist incidents in their fan base is a "fight against stupid people", following further allegations of anti-Semitic chanting by fans during the 2-1 Premier League win at Watford on Boxing Day.

A minority of the away end were reported to have chanted discriminatory remarks aimed at London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who are known for their large Jewish fan base, during the clash at Vicarage Road.

Chelsea temporarily suspended four fans from attending matches earlier this month amid an ongoing investigation into allegations that Raheem Sterling had been racially abused during their league clash with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

Just days after that incident, European football's governing body Uefa also opened an investigation into alleged anti-Semitic chants heard during their Europa League game against Vidi in Hungary.

Addressing the latest unsavoury episode to hit Chelsea, Sarri told reporters: "I don't want to generalise because 99 per cent (of) our fans are really wonderful.

"In every community, there are some stupids."

Club chairman Bruce Buck also published an open letter to fans last week, blaming a "deeply unpleasant but vocal minority" for damaging the club's image.

While Chelsea's off-field image has been tarnished by the recent spate of events, Eden Hazard, 27, is doing his best to keep his side in the top-four hunt on the pitch.

The Belgium forward is having his best season in a Blues shirt and has been involved in 20 league goals in 19 games. His two-goal show against the Hornets helped his team establish a two-point lead over fifth-placed Arsenal.

He also dropped his biggest hint that he was ready to commit his future to the club and become "a legend like (Frank) Lampard, (John) Terry or (Didier) Drogba".

After scoring his 100th and 101st Chelsea goal, Hazard, who has been heavily linked to Real Madrid and whose contract expires in June 2020, said: "It means a lot. This amazing club is something I will never forget, but now, the fans, the players, we want more.

"I want to score more goals for this club."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2018, with the headline 'Sarri blasts 'stupid' people in Blues' fight against racism'. Print Edition | Subscribe