Chelsea forbade three of their own supporters from attending last night’s Europa League away leg against Slavia Prague, after a racist video filmed by them surfaced on social media.
The 19 second clip shows a small band of Chelsea supporters derogatorily referring to Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah as a “bomber”.
According to The Guardian, Chelsea working in tandem with their away security staff, identified the concerned individuals before the game. Of the six identified, three of them were barred entry into the Sinobo Stadium. It was further reported that the remaining three did not attempt to enter the ground.
The club has released a statement condemning the incident while vowing to take sterner action against racist behaviour on and off the field:
“Chelsea FC finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour abhorrent and where there is clear evidence of Chelsea season ticket holders or members involved in such behaviour, we will take the strongest possible action against them.
Such individuals are an embarrassment to the vast majority of Chelsea supporters who won’t tolerate them in their club.”
Liverpool also issued a statement in light of this development branding the incident as “dangerous and disturbing”. The two clubs are working together to address this issue. The Merseyside club has also expressed its gratitude to Chelsea for their prompt action against the perpetrators of racist abuse.
The incident follows in the wake of Chelsea supporters’ prior indiscretions, most notably the racist abuse that was directed towards Raheem Sterling during Manchester City’s visit to Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, in light of which Chelsea FC chairman, Bruce Buck issued an open letter vowing to eliminate all forms of discrimination from the club.
Concerns over racist behaviour among Chelsea supporters have reached a peak with numerous such instances pointing towards troubled ideological allegiances among a section of the Chelsea faithful. In a previous Europa League tie against Vidi, some Chelsea supporters were photographed with a Chelsea Headhunters flag. The Headhunters have a long history of neo-Nazi affililiations stretching back to their formative years in the late 1960s.
Presently, the club’s concerns are not limited to on-field issues merely but extends to the behaviour of its fans as well.