Tot­ten­ham-Chelsea clash marred by al­leged racism

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Lon­don, UK - The Pro­fes­sional Foot­ballers' As­so­ci­a­tion (PFA) called for a gov­ern­ment in­quiry into racism in football af­ter Chelsea's 2-0 English Premier League (EPL) win at Tot­ten­ham on Sun­day was marred by al­leged racist com­ments from the crowd, the lat­est in a string of re­cent in­ci­dents.

Chelsea man­ager Frank Lam­pard said the prob­lem needed 'to be dealt with strongly' and Tot­ten­ham promised 'a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion' af­ter ref­eree An­thony Tay­lor halted play dur­ing the se­cond half when An­to­nio Rudi­ger com­plained of hear­ing mon­key noises from spec­ta­tors.

Mo­ments ear­lier the Chelsea de­fender had been in­volved in a se­cond-half clash with Son He­ung-min that saw the South Korean sent off.

Shortly af­ter the stop­page, an an­nounce­ment made over the pub­lic ad­dress sys­tem warned that 'racist be­hav­iour among spec­ta­tors is in­ter­fer­ing with the game' and Tay­lor spoke to both man­agers, Lam­pard and Jose Mour­inho. Two fur­ther pub­lic ad­dress an­nounce­ments fol­lowed af­ter play was re­sumed.

"It's just such a shame that racism still ex­ists in 2019. When will this non­sense stop?" Rudi­ger tweeted.

‘Wit­nesses there’

"I re­ally hope that the of­fend­ers will be found and pun­ished soon, and in such a mod­ern football ground like the Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur Sta­dium with dozens of TV and se­cu­rity cam­eras, it must be pos­si­ble to find and sub­se­quently punish them.

"If not, then there must have been wit­nesses in the sta­dium who saw and heard the in­ci­dent."

The PFA said in a state­ment late on Sun­day: "We are dis­gusted and dis­mayed that once again, a Premier League fix­ture has been tainted by abuse from the stands to­wards play­ers.

"It has be­come clear that football play­ers are on the re­ceiv­ing end of the bla­tant racism that is cur­rently rife in the UK, but they are not alone.

"Racist abuse in football is not just an is­sue for black and eth­nic mi­nor­ity play­ers, it is an is­sue for ev­ery­one who loves the game.

"The PFA calls for a gov­ern­ment in­quiry into racism and the rise in hate crime within football."

Ris­ing prob­lem

Two weeks ago a man was iden­ti­fied and ar­rested for an al­leged racist ges­ture caught on TV cam­eras dur­ing the Manchester derby be­tween City and United, while an Italy's Serie A apol­o­gised last week af­ter an anti-racism cam­paign fea­tur­ing posters with images of mon­keys was widely con­demned.

UEFA chief Alek­sander Ce­ferin ear­lier this month pledged Euro­pean football's gov­ern­ing body was work­ing to tackle the ris­ing prob­lem af­ter a spate of in­ci­dents across the con­ti­nent in­clud­ing the hurl­ing of racist abuse at Eng­land play­ers dur­ing a match in Bul­garia.

But Ce­ferin ac­cused Bri­tish

Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son of fu­elling the prob­lem.

"When a politi­cian that calls women with burqas post boxes or mail­boxes then says pub­licly that he con­demns you UEFA (for not tack­ling racism) - do you re­ply to that? Do you be­lieve it's hon­est? Come on," said Ce­ferin.

Former Manchester United player Gary Neville also ac­cused top UK politi­cians.

"We've just had a gen­eral elec­tion in this coun­try with both main par­ties and the lead­ers of both main par­ties ac­cused con­stantly of fu­elling racism and accepting racism in their par­ties," said Neville on Sky Sports.

"If it's ac­cepted in the high­est of­fice in the coun­try, we're not talk­ing at a mi­cro-level."

"Maybe we have to em­power the play­ers to walk off the pitch and stop the en­ter­tain­ment while it is hap­pen­ing," he added.

The ugly scenes over­shad­owed the Wil­lian dou­ble that gave Lam­pard a mem­o­rable tri­umph at the ex­pense of his former Chelsea boss Mour­inho.

Lam­pard in­sisted there was never any ques­tion of his team leav­ing the pitch in protest.

"Of course, we know there is a pro­to­col," he said. "It needs to be dealt with strongly."

Tot­ten­ham man­ager Mour­inho con­demned racism but still took a swipe at Rudi­ger, ac­cus­ing him of play-act­ing by clutch­ing his ribs to get Son sent off.

"I hate racism in so­ci­ety, I hate racism in football. I'm dis­ap­pointed that things like that can hap­pen. The club is a very proud club in this kind of sit­u­a­tion and in­ter­nally we will try to deal with it," he said.

Lam­pard out­wit­ted his old boss so ef­fec­tively that Chelsea dom­i­nated from start to fin­ish.

Wil­lian's su­perb opener was fol­lowed by a clin­i­cal penalty from the Brazil­ian as Chelsea held onto fourth place and moved six points clear of sev­enth-placed Tot­ten­ham.

(AFP)

Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur's Harry Kane (left) vies with Chelsea's An­to­nio Rudi­ger dur­ing the English Premier League match at Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur Sta­dium in Lon­don, UK, on Sun­day

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