Chelsea condemn Anton Ferdinand chants

 

Chelsea today vowed to do everything possible to identify those fans responsible for taunting Anton Ferdinand during their Champions League game at Genk.

The club were last night forced to condemn supporters who were clearly heard chanting "Anton Ferdinand, you know what you are" in their 1-1 Group E draw at the Cristal Arena.

Chelsea's fans appeared to be attempting to show support for captain John Terry, who is now under police investigation over allegations he racially abused QPR defender Ferdinand during last month's west London derby, something he denies.

Chelsea look set to avoid action over the abuse levelled at Ferdinand by a section of their travelling support, with UEFA confirming this morning that neither their match delegate nor referee Svein Oddvar Moen made any mention of the chanting in their reports.

But the club took the initiative themselves this afternoon in a bid to prevent a repeat.

A spokesman said: "The chanting last night by a vocal minority was wholly inappropriate and Chelsea Football Club does not condone such behaviour.

"We will be working with the appropriate authorities to seek out those responsible.

"Chelsea FC believes - as we are sure do the vast majority of our fans - that all forms of discrimination are abhorrent and have no place in our society.

"As a club, we work hard on educating our fans on these issues and will continue to do so.

"We work closely with the football authorities and anti-racism organisations and we are fully committed to eradicating racism and all other forms of discrimination from the game.

"Last night's offensive chants were from a minority and, as such, they do not represent what supporting Chelsea Football Club is all about."

Were the match delegate or referee to have alleged last night's chanting was of a racist nature in their reports, UEFA's disciplinary unit would have been forced to look into the matter.

European football's governing body said they could still do so should "any other piece of evidence of such chanting be made available", even though it would appear to be difficult to prove categorically that the taunts were racially motivated.

It is also understood there is no CCTV footage of the chanting, which could make identifying individuals difficult.

Possible UEFA sanctions for racist chanting include fines and forcing clubs to play matches behind closed doors.

Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion campaign, also condemned last night's abuse.

Chairman Lord Herman Ouseley said: "As with all incidents of abuse in European competition, it is under the jurisdiction of UEFA to determine whether action will be taken.

"There is also a duty and obligation for Chelsea FC to do likewise.

"We'd urge the club to warn supporters of their conduct before future fixtures, look to identify who was involved, and apologise to Anton Ferdinand on behalf of supporters everywhere who found the chant deplorable."

PA

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