Sunday was an all-around ugly day at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs were defeated 2-0 by Chelsea in what was a poor display on the pitch, but it will be overshadowed by what may have taken place off the pitch. The match was marred by accusations of racist abuse.
The game was briefly stopped in the second half after Antonio Rudiger complained that he heard monkey chanting coming from the stands. Three announcements were subsequently made over the PA in the stadium to remind fans that racism is not acceptable.
After the game ended, Spurs released a statement saying that they are investigating what took place and will be punishing the culprits accordingly.
“We are now conducting a thorough investigation which will include liaising with Chelsea and their players for their observations. Any form of racism is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our stadium. We take any such allegations extremely seriously and shall take the strongest possible action against any individual found to be behaving in such a way, including stadium bans.”
This all started after Son Heung-Min was sent off in the 62nd minute for kicking out at Rudiger. It was a kick-out, but it wasn’t really that violent and there was quite a bit of furor in the stadium when the red was shown after VAR got involved, but that is obviously no excuse for what followed.
The game was stopped as fans started throwing bottles and other items onto the pitch. Then, at some point during that commotion, Rudiger heard the alleged chanting and reported it to Cesar Azpilicueta, the Chelsea captain.
Azpilicueta went to Anthony Taylor with his complaint, and Taylor then went over to the sidelines to tell Jose Mourinho and Frank Lampard about the allegations.
After the match, Mourinho condemned the alleged racism and reiterated that the club will be taking action.
“I hate racism in society, I hate racism in football. I’m disappointed that things like that still can happen, but the referee stopped the game. He spoke to the players, he spoke to the captains, he spoke with the coaches. I was losing, I didn’t want the game stopped but immediately when I knew the reason why it was stopped I obviously understood and accepted it. The club is also a very proud club in this kind of situation and the club also internally will try to delete it.”
Obviously, the club need to issue bans for anyone who they can pick up on a camera using racist language or hand gestures. Bans should also be coming for the Spurs supporters who threw things onto the pitch. There should be zero tolerance for any of that appalling behavior.
This is a developing story, so stay tuned for updates.