Antonio Rüdiger is, sadly, no stranger to racial abuse on the football pitch. Even more sadly, it’s a problem not restricted to just Italy or Bulgaria or wherever. It’s a stain on the English game as well. In fact, it’s an undercurrent that’s not restricted to any one team, any one region, division, or league.
That’s why we have to keep talking about it, keep shining a light on it, keep working together to eradicate it.
Shortly after the Saturday’s 2-0 win against Spurs, Rüdiger, who had alerted Chelsea captain César Azpilicueta who in turn alerted the referee about the abuse during the match, released a statement on social media, urging action both specific to this case and general to these sadly recurring situations.
“It is really sad to see racism again at a football match, but I think it’s very important to talk about it in public. If not, it will be forgotten again in a couple of days (as always).
“I don’t want to involve Tottenham as an entire club into this situation as I know that just a couple of idiots were the offenders. I got a lot of supportive messages on social media from Spurs fans as well in the last hours - thank you a lot for this.
“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.
“It’s just such a shame that racism still exists in 2019. When will this nonsense stop?”
It’s going to take persistent, relentless, concerted effort to stop all this nonsense. And we have to keep believing that it’s possible indeed.
In this case, Spurs, to their credit, are taking the right steps so far.
“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.”
Last time Rüdiger was on the receiving end of audible racial abuse, UEFA turned a blind eye and dropped the investigation against AS Roma. Hopefully that doesn’t happen in this case.
Let’s be better to each other.