Chelsea Football Club have always been against racism and abuse directed towards players. The Blues announced that they will be suspending four supporters from going to all Chelsea matches pending investigations. The incident happened on December 8, 2018, when Manchester City and England star Raheem Sterling was allegedly shouted at with a vicious racial slur by a group of Chelsea fans.
Sterling was going to retrieve the ball for a throw-in when the group allegedly chanted racially offensive words. He reported the incident, prompting officials and authorities to move against the perpetrators.
After months of investigations, five supporters were said to be banned from going to Stamford Bridge, and one individual will be barred from going to the stadium permanently.
Below is the summary of the sanctions that the Blues have meted on the offenders.
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.