Raheem Sterling: Chelsea suspend four supporters over allegations of racist abuse towards Manchester City forward
Chelsea have suspended four supporters from attending matches while they investigate allegations of racist abuse directed at Raheem Sterling.
One supporter, who has been reported to police for shouting racist slurs at Sterling, has been interviewed by the club. The man is alleged to have called Sterling a “f****** black c***” from the Stamford Bridge terraces during Chelsea’s Premier League victory against Manchester City on Saturday.
Sterling, 24, told the Metropolitan Police on Sunday night that he was racially abused, and their investigation into the incident continued on Monday.
Chelsea have been combing footage of the incident to determine if racist language was used and other supporters caught on camera hurling abuse at the England player were also identified.
Read more: Raheem Sterling abuse: Black Chelsea fan explains why he didn't react to alleged racist tirade
The club said in a statement Monday: “Chelsea Football Club has suspended four people from attending Chelsea matches pending further investigations into allegations regarding the behaviour of supporters towards Raheem Sterling during our match against Manchester City on Saturday.
“Our investigations into this matter are ongoing. We are fully supporting the police investigation and any information we gather will be passed on to them.
“Chelsea Football Club finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour abhorrent and if there is evidence of ticket holders taking part in any racist behaviour, the club will issue severe sanctions, including bans. We will also fully support any criminal prosecutions.”
Reaction in the media
Read more: Raheem Sterling abuse: ‘Racism isn’t just a problem in football but society in general,’ says John Barnes
Former Liverpool and England forward John Barnes insisted on Monday that while the incident involving Sterling, and the player’s subsequent comment that sections of the media fuel racism, highlighted the issue, it is a common occurrence across the country.
“It doesn’t surprise me, it’s been going on for years,” Barnes told the BBC. “As much as the overt racism in football seems to have disappeared, I for one never believed that it did, because, of course, that’s a very high profile incident where Raheem Sterling was racially abused, but it goes on week in week out all over the country, in the lower divisions, in grass roots football, in parks, and I’m glad that Raheem has talked about the impact the press in fuelling that.
“What I’d like to do and I’d like black celebrities to do is widen it and look at it in a more holistic way and talk about the perception people have of black people generally not just superstars. Because I think that is a bigger problem.”
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The Professional Footballers’ Association also condemned on Monday the increase in racial abuse of their members. Football’s anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out revealed a fortnight ago that reports of discrimination at football — predominantly involving racism — had increased for a sixth successive year.
This was the second incident of alleged racism in the Premier League within a week, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a banana thrown at him by a Tottenham supporter during the North London Derby.
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