Wednesday 22 January 2020

Chelsea back Rudiger claims as probe finds 'no evidence'

Antonio Rudiger says he was racially abused (Nick Potts/PA)
Antonio Rudiger says he was racially abused (Nick Potts/PA)

Matt Law and Tom Morgan

Chelsea will continue to encourage their players to report any abuse they believe could be discriminatory after Tottenham Hotspur and Scotland Yard announced that they had found "no evidence" to support Antonio Rudiger's allegation of racist abuse.

Rudiger retains the full support of Chelsea for following protocol and informing captain Cesar Azpilicueta that he believed he had heard racist abuse directed at him during the victory at Tottenham last month.

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Chelsea will reiterate to their players the need to report any abuse they feel could be racist or discriminatory without any fear of prejudice or retribution. Tottenham have maintained their support for Rudiger's decision to take action.

Rudiger complained that he was subjected to monkey chants in his side's 2-0 win on December 22, but an "extensive" investigation, using CCTV and professional lip readers, has been unable to identify culprits.

His allegations - the 15th match to be affected by claims of racism in England this season - sparked an outcry, with football authorities and anti-discrimination campaigners condemning failures to tackle bigotry.

Tottenham said in a statement last night that officials had been unable to verify Rudiger's claims, having "exhausted all avenues of investigation" with the Metropolitan Police.

Extensive

The club said they had carried out "extensive reviews" of CCTV images and footage. "All materials and reports have now also been reviewed by the police, who have carried out their own investigation," the statement added.

"The police have notified us that, having reviewed and investigated, they have closed the crime report as they can find no evidence to support the allegation of racial abuse."

Meanwhile, Ross Barkley has promised that he will not get caught out off the pitch again as he attempts to resurrect his Chelsea and England career.

The midfielder scored on his first Chelsea appearance since October 19 in the 2-0 FA Cup victory over Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

His encouraging start to life under head coach Frank Lampard was hindered by a niggling foot injury. While he was out, Barkley was captured on a camera phone dancing topless in a Dubai nightclub during the November international break.

Lampard accused Barkley of "lacking professionalism" following the incident, but also insisted he backed him, and the 26-year-old responded with a goal on his return to the team.

"You have to be careful because everyone is wanting to catch you out," Barkley said.

"It was unfortunate to get caught in that position.

"I am keeping my head down and it won't happen again. It has taught me a big lesson."

Telegraph.co.uk

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