Antonio Rudiger has urged football authorities to step up their efforts in tackling racism, adding that a lack of punishment for clubs and fans could be seen as acceptance for racist chanting.
The Chelsea centreback is no stranger to the problem as he has been subject to racist abuse in a couple of occasions. The German international has had monkey chants directed at him by Roma supporters in the Blues’ 3-3 draw with the Serie A club in a UEFA Champions League match last year. UEFA, Europe’s chief football governing body, opened a case after the incident but ultimately failed to charge the Giallorossi, his former club, despite the evident racial abuse.
“They need to do more, if they don’t do more they’re the same as the people doing it,” said the German centreback at a Chelsea Foundation equality and diversity workshop, as quoted by the BBC. “Maybe sometimes they think it’s hard to punish their fans but at the end of the day, to me, it’s a clear sign that you’re accepting it.”
Another earlier incident in 2017 saw Rudiger, who was then playing for Roma, subjected to racist abuse from Lazio fans in the Roman derby at the Stadio Olimpico – an event that prompted the stadium announcer to warn that the match would be suspended had the abuse continued.
“I dealt with that in my own way by keeping quiet and respecting Italian culture,” continued the Blues central defender. “I can never say that I did wrong or misbehaved, that’s what’s important for me and that’s how I carried on.
The German international defender then encouraged harsher punishment on those who found guilty of conducting racist abuse. “Just because some idiots say things, I don’t need to involve the whole of Italy in that, I like Italy and had a great time there but some people need to get punished harder.”