Chelsea defend themselves over Uefa charge of anti-Semitic chanting

Club makes announcement after chairman says action had been a ‘waste of time’

 Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is considering recalling Kepa Arrizabalaga against Fulham on Sunday. Photograph:    Simon Cooper/PA Wire

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is considering recalling Kepa Arrizabalaga against Fulham on Sunday. Photograph: Simon Cooper/PA Wire

 

Chelsea have moved to clarify comments by their chairman, Bruce Buck, in which he suggested Uefa’s decision to charge the club over alleged anti-Semitic chanting during a Europa League group game against Vidi had been “a waste of time”.

Uefa confirmed on Thursday that the charges would not be pursued, apparently because of a lack of evidence. That decision was reached despite Chelsea having released a statement immediately after the game in Budapest last December condemning those who had “shamed the club” and questioning “the brainpower” of anyone who had engaged in the chants, which had been heard in the opening three minutes of the tie and referenced “Yids”.

Buck, who has been at the forefront of Chelsea tackling the issue of discrimination, had been asked about Uefa’s decision as he collected a Community Project of the Year award for their “Say No To Anti-Semitism” programme.

“The charge in the first place was a waste of time,” he said. “Almost nothing happened. I really thought they were wasting their time, effort and manpower on something like this and missing some of the big pictures.” Chelsea would have faced a partial closure of their stadium as a minimum sanction had charges been proved.

Frustration

“It is of course hugely important that allegations of discriminatory behaviour are investigated,” said a Chelsea spokesman. “It is a subject this club takes extremely seriously, as evidenced by all of our public statements and our ongoing work and campaigns in this area. We welcome Uefa’s decision in this case, but our frustration, and the chairman’s frustration which he expressed after the decisions, was that they rushed to charge before conducting a full investigation. Charging early only added to the media furore and speculation around the allegations and possible sanctions.”

“I am very happy for our fans,” added Maurizio Sarri, who is considering recalling Kepa Arrizabalaga against Fulham on Sunday. “I am very happy for my players because, for us, it’s really very important to have the fans with us. Especially in Europe. I hope and I’m sure that the behaviour of our fans will be the best.”

Kick It Out said in a statement: “Kick It Out will always support football’s governing bodies taking allegations of anti-Semitism seriously, investigating thoroughly and taking action where appropriate – regardless of the number of people alleged to have been involved.”

– Guardian

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.