Chelsea has banned a supporter for life after racially abusing Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, stating that the behaviour is in breach of their ticketing conditions.
An investigation conducted by the Premier League club found the fan used “racially abusive language” towards the player during a game against City at Stamford Bridge in December.
The move follows a criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police, which concluded there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.
Chelsea decided to take action after interviewing witnesses, reviewing video evidence and taking advice from two lip-reading experts. The club said it was able to act separately from the police as it operates under the civil standard of proof, rather than that used in criminal cases.
A statement from Chelsea read: “While the club respects the decision of the CPS, the question it had to determine was not whether a criminal offence had been committed, but rather whether the individual acted in breach of the ticketing terms and conditions. The club operates to the civil standard of proof, which is entirely different to the criminal standard.
“In reaching its decision the club took into account the denial made by the individual as well as a range of other evidence, including video evidence and evidence from two lip reading experts — both of whom advised that the individual had used words that are racially abusive.”
The London club has also suspended five different supporters from the 42,000-capacity Stamford Bridge for between one and two years for “abusive language” and “threatening behaviour” during the same game.
Chelsea continued: “In the case of the supporter who was found by the club to have used racially abusive language, there is no place for this behaviour at Stamford Bridge and a permanent exclusion was the appropriate sanction. Individuals receiving the shorter exclusion did so on the basis that they have provided undertakings about their future behaviour.
“Chelsea finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour abhorrent and we will continue to operate a zero tolerance approach to any incidents of racism. We are proud to be a diverse, inclusive club where people from all cultures, communities and identities feel welcome.”
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