Chelsea to avoid sanction over taunting at Champions’ League encounter
Published 02/11/2011 | 13:32
CHELSEA today looked set to avoid action over their fans' taunting of Anton Ferdinand during last night's Champions League game at Genk.
UEFA confirmed this morning that neither their match delegate nor referee Svein Oddvar Moen made any mention in their reports of the abuse levelled at QPR defender Ferdinand by Blues fans during the 1-1 Group E draw at the Cristal Arena.
Were the officials to have alleged the chanting was of a racist nature, UEFA's disciplinary unit would have been forced to look into the matter.
European football's governing body said they could still do so should "any other piece of evidence of such chanting be made available", even though it would appear to be difficult to prove categorically that last night's taunts were racially motivated.
Some of the Chelsea's travelling contingent were clearly heard singing, "Anton Ferdinand, you know what you are", during the 1-1 draw at the Cristal Arena.
The fans appeared to be attempting to show support for captain John Terry, who is now under police investigation over allegations he racially abused QPR defender Ferdinand during last month's west London derby, something he denies.
Chelsea were forced to condemn the chanting, saying: "It was wholly inappropriate and we don't condone it."
Possible UEFA sanctions for racist chanting include fines and forcing clubs to play matches behind closed doors.
Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion campaign, called on Chelsea to act over the chants, even if UEFA did not.
Chairman Lord Herman Ouseley said: "As with all incidents of abuse in European competition, it is under the jurisdiction of UEFA to determine whether action will be taken.
"There is also a duty and obligation for Chelsea FC to do likewise.
"We'd urge the club to warn supporters of their conduct before future fixtures, look to identify who was involved, and apologise to Anton Ferdinand on behalf of supporters everywhere who found the chant deplorable."
One of the 1,100 Chelsea fans at last night's game admitted the chants had done Terry's cause more harm than good.
The supporter, who was not one of those involved but did not wish to be named, told Press Association Sport: "There were pockets that were chanting but there were an awful lot of people who weren't.
"Some people were trying to work out whether the chant was calling Ferdinand a liar, or what John Terry was alleged to have said about him.
"I think most people probably thought it was the latter but weren't sure.
"It was stupid but I don't think all the people singing it are racist.
"There is an element of fans for whom Terry and company can do no wrong but there does appear to be a witch-hunt here that Terry is guilty until proven innocent.
"I'm not excusing the chant because I don't think you can't excuse what was behind it.
"Maybe the club will say something telling people they can support John Terry by clapping him but not chanting like that."