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Chelsea suspend four fans after Sterling racial abuse, investigation continues

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A good first step.

Chelsea FC v Fulham FC - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Chelsea Football Club have issued a statement today regarding the investigations into the apparent racial abuse of Raheem Sterling that occurred at Stamford Bridge during Saturday’s otherwise uplifting and momentous footballing occasion.

Four fans who decided to thus decided to shame and disgrace themselves, their fellow fans, and the club have now been suspended, and depending on what the ongoing investigation uncovers, will presumably be subject to further disciplinary actions like lifetime bans (from Chelsea) and possible criminal charges (from the police) — in the UK, hate speech is classified as a crime (unlike in, say, the USA).

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.

-source: Chelsea FC

It’s good to see the club take reasonably swift action, even if it should be the minimum required response in this case.

The Sterling incident, abhorrent as it was in and of itself, has restarted a much needed conversation about racism in football, racism in society, and racism, sometimes subtle, sometimes overt, in media. Here’s former Liverpool winger John Barnes talking about it this morning on the BBC, in an interview that should be required viewing.


ADDENDUM

Earlier today, one of the Chelsea fans in that section went on talkSport to detail his experience and his involvement. He admits shouting (non-racial) abuse at Sterling and apologizes for it. It is a fascinating and a bit scary window into this situation, and the role of the angry mob. However, he does say that one of the guys accused of racial abusing Sterling “regularly” spouts racist abuse.