Government prepared to take ‘further steps’ over racism in football

Media playback is not supported on this device

Rudiger heard monkey noises from crowd – Azpilicueta

The government says it will not rule out taking “further steps” if football authorities fail to deal with racism.

Play was stopped during Chelsea’s win at Tottenham on Sunday after Antonio Rudiger said he heard monkey noises.

The Professional Footballers’ Association has called for a government inquiry following the alleged abuse.

“Racism of any kind has no place in football or anywhere else and we must confront this vile behaviour,” said a Downing Street spokesperson.

“Clearly there remains more work to be done by the football authorities in tackling this issue and we are committed to working with them on this to stamp it out.

“The FA, Premier League and English Football League have significantly stepped up their efforts, but we expect them to continue to prioritise this issue and to consult with both players and supporter groups, and we will be monitoring how the football authorities implement their plans through the season.

“We will continue working with the authorities on this, including the Professional Footballers’ Association and we don’t rule out taking further steps if required.”

Sports minister Nigel Adams said he had held positive talks with Tottenham, the Premier League and the PFA, adding: “I am in no doubt that Tottenham are doing all they can to identify anyone responsible, and that they will take the strongest possible action.”

Cheslea centre-back Rudiger reported the alleged racist abuse from the crowd to his captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who told referee Anthony Taylor and the game was stopped.

Shortly after the stoppage, an announcement made over the public address system warned that “racist behaviour is interfering with the game”.

Second and third addresses followed with the game heading towards its conclusion.

The Metropolitan Police is working with Tottenham to identify anyone responsible, with the club promising to “take the strongest possible action”.

Iffy Onuora, the Professional Footballers’ Association’s equalities coach told BBC Sport that racism has increased in the UK since Brexit referendum.

“There is upheaval following the [Brexit] referendum and the election and that’s caused this fracture,” he said.

“That emboldens people. It’s been legitimised by some of the language from the politicians. We lost an MP only four years ago and we think that was such a seminal moment but that’s been and gone and we’ve used that as a moment to think what are we doing here.

“Things have got worse if anything and how can that be? Somehow we have to look at this differently and be bolder.”

The FA said: “We are working with the match officials, the clubs and the relevant authorities to fully establish the facts and take the appropriate steps.”

 »