According to CNN, Chelsea has banned six of its fans—one for life—for racist abuse of Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling during an English Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in December.
Chelsea Football Club has issued sanctions against six people regarding their behaviour during our match against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on 8 December 2018.https://t.co/I5RTndQ1CI
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 30, 2019
The fan that was permanently banned from the stadium was found to have used “racially abusive language and threatening and aggressive behavior,” the club said.
The other five individuals have been banned for between one and two years for “abusive language and threatening and aggressive behavior.”
The club delayed its decision to ensure that it did not prejudice the related police investigation.
Chelsea reached its conclusion after reviewing video evidence, interviewing witnesses and the help of two lip-reading professionals.
The club released a statement stating:
One individual has been permanently excluded from Stamford Bridge for the use of racially abusive language and threatening and aggressive behaviour. Prior to making its decision, the Club noted the decision of the CPS not to charge this individual with a criminal offence. While the Club respects the decision of the CPS, the question that it had to determine was not whether a criminal offence had been committed, but rather whether the individual acted in breach of the ticketing terms and conditions. In this regard, the Club operates to the civil standard of proof, which is entirely different to the criminal standard. In reaching its decision, the Club took into account the denial made by the individual as well as a range of other evidence, including video evidence and evidence from two lip reading experts – both of whom advised that the individual had used words that are racially abusive.
Five individuals have been temporarily excluded from attending Stamford Bridge for periods of between one and two years for the use of abusive language and threatening and aggressive behaviour. Individuals receiving the shorter exclusion did so on the basis that they have provided undertakings about their future behaviour.
We understand that this incident has been the subject of discussion amongst supporters, and the Club appreciates that emotions can run high during matches. However, in this case the behaviour of all six individuals crossed the line of what is acceptable. Furthermore, in the case of the supporter who was found by the Club to have used racially abusive language, there is no place for this behaviour at Stamford Bridge and a permanent exclusion was the appropriate sanction. Given the particular circumstances of this case, the Club did not consider that attendance at an education course in return for a reduced sanction would have been appropriate.
Chelsea Football Club finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour abhorrent and we will continue to operate a zero tolerance approach to any incidents of racism. We are proud to be a diverse, inclusive club where people from all cultures, communities and identities feel welcome. We are clear and consistent in our condemnation of discriminatory behaviour and language and all fans should remember that their words and actions can cause offence to those around them and to the wider community. We will continue to work with our supporters to rid the game of all forms of discrimination.
UEFA, European football’s governing body has been highly criticized for what fans are calling a “weak record” in tackling racism.
In May 2018, the Russian Football Association was fined $29,000 for racist chanting, while Montenegro was ordered to play its next Euro 2020 qualifier behind closed doors and was fined 20,000 euros ($20,300) for racist abuse of England players in Podgorica in March.