Chelsea have suspended four supporters from attending the club’s matches following the alleged racial abuse of Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling at Stamford Bridge on Saturday night.
Pending further investigations, the club released a statement to announce that four people have been banned – though the identity of the suspects has been kept anonymous.
“Our investigations into this matter are ongoing,” the statement read, before noting: “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.”
The suspensions come hours after Chelsea revealed they had passed the details of the man who appeared to racially abuse Sterling to the Metropolitan Police.
TV footage of the game appeared to show a man in a blue top calling Sterling a “f****** black c***” while other Chelsea supporters in the Matthew Harding Stand also hurled vile but apparently non-racial abuse at the Manchester City player.
Sterling was interviewed by the Metropolitan Police on Sunday morning, with Sterling claiming that he heard racial abuse from the stands. No arrests have yet been made and enquiries are continuing.
Chelsea’s own investigation into the incident has used TV footage from many angles obtained from broadcasters BT Sport to identify the man who allegedly racially abused Sterling, which they now appear to have done.
The club are also using lip-readers to try to determine the exact words said. If found guilty of racial abuse, the fan will be banned for life.
Manchester City have also released a statement, coming minutes after the news that Chelsea had banned four supporters. It reads: “Manchester City FC welcomes Chelsea FC’s decision to issue suspensions to the individuals who verbally abused Raheem Sterling during the match at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
“The Club and Raheem are fully engaged with Chelsea FC and the investigating authorities as they continue to examine the events in question. Manchester City and Raheem are committed to working with all relevant parties and organisations to support the objective of eradicating racism from the game.”