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Police close investigation into reported racial abuse of Antonio Rudiger citing lack of evidence

Can neither corroborate nor contradict the report of racial abuse at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Spurs vs. Chelsea match last month

FBL-ENG-PR-TOTTENHAM-CHELSEA Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

UPDATE: The Daily Mail’s Ollie Holt has called into question the thoroughness of the investigation.


PREVIOUSLY:

The incident at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium that led to a brief match stoppage and, for the first time ever, a (repeated) stadium announcement regarding racist behaviour among spectators “interfering” with the game — shouldn’t that wording be stronger, by the way? — has resulted in no further action after an “extensive” review and investigation by both Spurs and Metropolitan Police found “no evidence to support the allegation of racial abuse”.

In a club statement, Spurs explain that after reviewing all available evidence, neither they nor the Police are able “corroborate or contradict” the allegation. This is an important detail that should not be missed — Spurs aren’t claiming there was no abuse, or that Rudiger made things up. There’s not enough evidence to show that racial abuse did occur. Nor there is enough evidence to show that racial abuse did not occur. There’s simply not enough evidence.

Here’s the relevant part of the statement:

The Club and the Metropolitan Police have now exhausted all avenues of investigation following the reported incident at our home fixture against Chelsea on 22 December.

We carried out extensive reviews of CCTV images and footage, working with professional lip readers. All materials and reports have now also been reviewed by the police who have carried out their own investigation.

The police have notified us today that, having reviewed and investigated, they have closed the crime report as they can find no evidence to support the allegation of racial abuse.

We fully support Antonio Rudiger with the action that he took - however there is no evidence to corroborate or contradict the allegation and as such neither ourselves nor the police are in a position to take any further action.

-Tottenham Hotspur statement

So, case closed, unless, as Spurs remind at the end, any new information or evidence comes to light.

Where does this leave us? Nowhere great. Rudiger heard what he heard. He needs to be believed and supported, as all victims of any abuse must be. It’s unfortunate that our current levels of technology and surveillance did not find supporting (or contradicting) evidence — though more surveillance may not be a good avenue to go down on either.

Even if this case was in the end some sort of misunderstanding — which strikes me as unfittingly hopeful and establishmentariast explanation — the fight against racism continues. As before, it us up to each and every one of us to identify it, call attention to it, and help stamp it out.

UPDATE: Chelsea have released a statement as well.

“We support Toni Rudiger totally and unequivocally on this matter, and as Tottenham’s statement makes clear, a lack of evidence does not mean an incident did not take place.

”In responding to this incident, we must be very careful about the climate we create for players who experience and report racist behaviour.

”It is vitally important that we continue to encourage all players, whatever shirt they wear, to report racist abuse without fear of doubt or reprisal.”

-Chelsea statement; source: BBC