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KICK IT OUT applauded how swiftly Liverpool and Chelsea acted in condemning the racist abuse Mohamed Salah received from Blues fans in an online video.
Prior to the Blues’ Europa League game on Thursday night, a short clip surfaced on social media in which the Liverpool winger was racially abused.
The two clubs meet tomorrow in what is set to be a feisty encounter, but once again the build-up to a high-profile game is being dominated by serious off the field issues.
Anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out have made clear the action they want to see from football authorities and clubs to combat the continued abuse being hurled at footballers, from grassroots level to the top of the British game.
And in a statement released yesterday, Kick It Out were not only pleased that the two clubs were on the front foot and united in their message against the bigotry aimed at Salah, but that the Chelsea fans were denied entry to game.
“We have always asked clubs to be swift and proactive when dealing with incidents of discrimination,” read Kick It Out’s statement.
“Last night, Chelsea FC did exactly that when presented with evidence of racist chanting aimed at Mo Salah by some of their fans in a bar before the match in Prague.
“The club not only condemned the behaviour, but identified some of the alleged perpetrators and stopped them from getting into the match they had presumably spent a lot of money to go to.
“Liverpool FC backed Chelsea in a strongly worded statement of their own.
“We support both clubs on the stance they have taken and welcome their unequivocal message that bigotry and hatred has no place in football.
“We hope other clubs will follow Chelsea and Liverpool’s impressive lead.”
In Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s pre-Chelsea press conference, the German called for the sport to unite in eradicating racist abuse from football, while calling for the men in the video to be banned from stadiums.
“It’s disgusting. Another example of something which should not happen. We should not see it as a Chelsea or Liverpool thing,” Klopp said.
“If you do something like that you should not be able to enter a stadium again, from my point of view, for life.
“As a part of the football community I can say these people should not be involved. Go in each dressing room in the world and they are all sitting there, no-one cares where their parents are from.
“Football has a strong voice, and we have to use that voice and show that we all think the same. Things like this should not be allowed to happen again.
“It is a complete misunderstanding of how life should be: all parts of racism are that some people think they are more worthy or valuable than others and that’s the biggest misunderstanding in the world out there,” he added.
“Because football is very public we talk a lot about this so I think we pretty much have a strong voice and we have to use that strong voice and say all together things like this are not allowed to happen again.”
Thursday night was another in which football’s dark side was once against front and centre, after another video clip was released, this time of an Arsenal fan hurling racist abuse at Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
It is the second time the defender has been racially abused this season, that the public is aware of, and the Gunners were also quick in releasing a statement hitting out against their fan.
“We utterly condemn use of this type of racist language and have launched an investigation to identify the culprit,” Arsenal said in a statement.
“We operate a zero tolerance approach and anyone behaving like this is not welcome at Arsenal and will be banned from matches.
“We have an extremely diverse community of fans who are all part of the Arsenal family and such incidents are rare at the Emirates Stadium. We encourage supporters to report any incidents as they happen to stewards or via our matchday alert service.”
Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang echoed his club’s sentiments and added his voice to the many that have made it clear that racism has no place in football.
“I am really disappointed about that,” he said.
“I had the same problem here against Tottenham. When you are black like me it is really painful, I think, because we are in 2019 and obviously it is not good for football in England. Hopefully we will find a way to kick it out.”
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