Tottenham issues update on racism investigation

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Tottenham Hotspur publicly issued an update to their investigation of alleged racial abuse of Antonio Rudiger during the 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea, describing their findings as “inconclusive” to this point while ensuring fans that the investigation is continuing.

Rudiger claimed that he was the target of racial abuse shortly after his coming together with Heung-Son Min which left the Spurs attacker red carded by referee Anthony Taylor. This was relayed to Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who then alerted the referee.

“We are able to track every fan via the cameras and have spent many hours reviewing CCTV footage,” the statement read. “We have engaged lip readers to study the footage and contacted Chelsea for further information from their players. We have also taken statements from other parties present at the time. The police will be reviewing our evidence alongside us. Please be assured we shall be exhaustively investigating this matter.”

“Any fan found to be guilty will receive a lifetime ban,” the statement continued. “At this time however we should point out that our findings are inconclusive and would ask that comment is reserved until the facts are established.”

A key part of the update regards the handling of the incident by the referee. According to the statement, Anthony Taylor chose to activate phase one of the UEFA protocol, rather than Premier League protocol. The two statutes differ as UEFA orders the referee to ask for a stadium-wide announcement rather than directly deal with the individuals, which the Premier League dictates.

In respect of protocols,” the Tottenham statement reads, “when the incident was conveyed to the referee Anthony Taylor, he took the decision to call for the implementation of Stage 1 of the UEFA protocol – rather than the Premier League protocol – and asked for an announcement to be made, as well as requesting a further announcement which created a misconception that any issue was on-going. The Premier League protocol differs from UEFA protocol in that it does not call for an announcement rather that the individual(s) be dealt with by the Safety Team in the first instance.”

While serving as a Premier League referee since 2009, Anthony Taylor is also a Champions League official and has taken charge of 37 European games in his career. Therefore, the club is calling to light a clear contradiction between UEFA and Premier League protocols and how it may be confusing for the referee to handle racist incidents in different competitions differently. The club has therefore requested that the Premier League clean up any discrepancies, asking them to make clear how they would like referees and clubs to handle abuse in the future.

“We have asked that the Premier League clarifies the position regarding the use of these protocols to all stakeholders going forward.”

Earlier Monday, the club stated it was launching an investigation and promised that racist chanting “will not be tolerated in our stadium.”