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Chelsea ban fan for life for racist abuse

Raheem Sterling (left) was subjected to vicious racial abuse during the match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in December 2018.
Raheem Sterling (left) was subjected to vicious racial abuse during the match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in December 2018. Reuters/John Sibley

Chelsea banned one supporter from Stamford Bridge for life on Tuesday for racially abusing the Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling during last December's Premier League match.

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Sterling went to retrieve a ball near the Matthew Harding stand where six men started shouting at him.

One of them has been permanently barred from matches at the west London stadium. Five others have been temporarily excluded for between one and two years.

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced in April that it would not pursue a criminal case against the man. However the club said it had nevertheless decided to sanction the group.

 

 

"While the club respects the decision of the CPS not to charge the individual with a criminal offence, 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."

The statement added: "In this case the behaviour of all six individuals crossed the line of what is acceptable."

Stance

Chelsea, then managed by Maurizio Sarri, beat the visitors 2-0.

Last week, the new Chelsea boss Frank Lampard urged Chelsea’s fans to drop a chant that contains an offensive reference to the travelling community. The song was wheeled out during a friendly match against Reading.

“I didn’t hear the song in question and of course, if there’s a song in the modern day or any day that has offensive words, I don’t want to hear that,” Lampard said. “That’s me saying that as a big Chelsea man who really appreciates the support.

“We don’t want songs with offensive words. If the fans could sing other songs, then I’ll back that. The club are very clear with the work we do off the pitch about anything that’s offensive or prejudiced and we’ve made a big mark on that in modern years.”

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