/ 16 November 2011

Chelsea investigates fans on further racism claims

Chelsea became embroiled in another racism storm on Tuesday when it launched an investigation into allegations their striker Daniel Sturridge was racially abused by one or a number of the team’s supporters during a Champions League match.

The English Premier League club said in a statement it has received “several complaints” regarding “offensive behaviour” during the away match at Belgian champion Genk on November 1.

British newspaper the Daily Mail reported that a supporter allegedly shouted, “They are bringing on the monkeys” as Sturridge, a black striker, prepared to go on as a second-half substitute.

“We take all complaints of this nature extremely seriously and are working with supporters and police to identify those that took part,” the Chelsea statement read.

“We will continue to vigorously pursue any evidence of individuals or groups taking part in discriminatory behaviour and take the strongest action against them.”

The alleged incident occurred during the same game in which some of Chelsea’s travelling support were alleged to have abused Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand, who is at the centre of a separate racism investigation involving Chelsea and England captain John Terry.

Terry is being investigated by police and England’s Football Association following allegations he racially abused Ferdinand during the west London derby in the Premier League on October 23.

Responding to the latest alleged incident, Chelsea said: “Such activity shames the club and the game of football and we are fully committed to eradicating such offensive behaviour from the sport.”

Sturridge is set to make his debut for England in Tuesday’s friendly against Sweden at Wembley Stadium. Terry will captain England after being rested for Saturday’s 1-0 victory over world champions Spain. — Sapa-AP