Mail Online reports today: “A black Premier League footballer who reported hearing monkey chants during a match has urged officials to find and punish the offenders as soon as possible.
“Antonio Rudiger reported being the subject of monkey chants during the second half of his Chelsea side’s 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur yesterday.
“The Professional Footballers’ Association called for a government inquiry into racism within football after the allegations of abuse at the game in North London.
“The chants, which have caused widespread outrage, were heard shortly after Tottenham player Son Heung-min had been sent off for kicking out at Rudiger.
“It comes amid a number of other shameful incidents to have affected football during the year which have prompted calls for politicians to do more to prevent racism,” the report added.
“Mr Johnson’s Tories have been dogged by allegations of Islamophobia in recent years, and Labour has struggled to purge its membership of those accused of being anti-Semitic.
“Calls have been made for the Government to open an investigation into racism in football after ugly scenes marred the match last night.
“The Professional Footballers Association (PFA) said it was ‘dismayed and disgusted’ at the claims of abuse and pushed for a Government inquiry.
“The PFA calls for a government inquiry into racism and the rise in hate crime within football, and immediate and urgent action,’ said the representative body.”
Sports Minister Nigel Adams confirmed he would be meeting with the club today.
“Depressing to see today’s events at White Hart Lane,’ he tweeted. ‘I welcome Spurs investigation and will be speaking with the club’s directors tomorrow,” he said.
“There is no place for racism or any kind of discrimination in football or anywhere else.”
The report added: “Labour said Premier League football clubs that failed to weed out racist fans should have to play at empty grounds.”
Shadow sports minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan said: “Another instance of racism today. It wasn’t acceptable during Eng vs Bulgaria and it’s not acceptable now.
“If clubs don’t find perpetrators they should play matches behind closed doors.”
Tottenham MP David Lammy said he was “appalled to hear about racist incidents by Spurs fans’ and urged for the culprits to be ‘punished”.
But Sky Sports host David Jones then intervened with a disclaimer: “I am compelled to say that those are the opinions of Gary Neville and not Sky Sports. That is my duty.”
When a visibly annoyed Neville asked whether or not he agreed, Jones responded: “Whether I do or I don’t is irrelevant. I’m here to try and hold a balanced debate.”
After the programme, Jones tweeted an apology that said: “I’m so sorry to have spoiled what was such an important discussion on racism tonight. I had to intervene when Gary suggested the two main political parties were to blame – I didn’t make that clear enough. For that I apologise unreservedly.
“I would never purposefully shut down a discussion on racism. I’ve worked for Sky for over 20 years and know they share my view that racism of any kind should not be tolerated. That is not a debate. And that’s why I’m so very disappointed and sorry tonight.”
Following scenes of racist chanting when England played Bulgaria in a World Cup qualifier overseas, Prime Minister branded the culprits ‘vile’ and said such behaviour had ‘no place in football or anywhere else’.
Today, Kick It Out’s George Starkey-Midha told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It’s imperative on everyone involved in football, on the Government, on anyone in any kind of position of authority to really begin to take this far more seriously and look at how we can begin to make inroads, because clearly you’ve now got a situation where every single week there seems to be another incident and it’s a serious, serious problem.’
- Top Feature Photo: Referee Anthony Taylor (centre) speaks to Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger during Sunday’s game