?Chelsea have confirmed that they have punished six fans for their abusive behaviour during their 2-0 win over Manchester City in December 2018, including a permanent ban for the fan found to have racially abused Raheem Sterling.
The result was marred by allegations of abuse towards City players, while certain fans were also accused of using racist language towards Sterling as he collected the ball from the touchline.
?Chelsea suspended a number of fans whilst they investigated the incident, and they have now taken to their ?official website to confirm the punishments for the fans in question. Their initial verdict was delayed so as to avoid interfering with a police investigation but, with that coming to an end, the Blues have quickly acted to implement their own sanctions.
They wrote: “One individual has been permanently excluded from Stamford Bridge for the use of racially abusive language and threatening and aggressive behaviour.
“Prior to making its decision, the Club noted the decision of the CPS not to charge this individual with a criminal offence. While the Club respects the decision of the CPS, the question that it had to determine was not whether a criminal offence had been committed, but rather whether the individual acted in breach of the ticketing terms and conditions.
“In this regard, the Club operates to the civil standard of proof, which is entirely different to the criminal standard. In reaching its decision, the Club took into account the denial made by the individual as well as a range of other evidence, including video evidence and evidence from two lip reading experts – both of whom advised that the individual had used words that are racially abusive.
“Five individuals have been temporarily excluded from attending Stamford Bridge for periods of between one and two years for the use of abusive language and threatening and aggressive behaviour.
“Individuals receiving the shorter exclusion did so on the basis that they have provided undertakings about their future behaviour.
“In the case of the supporter who was found by the Club to have used racially abusive language, there is no place for this behaviour at Stamford Bridge and a permanent exclusion was the appropriate sanction.
“Chelsea Football Club finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour abhorrent and we will continue to operate a zero tolerance approach to any incidents of racism. We are proud to be a diverse, inclusive club where people from all cultures, communities and identities feel welcome.
“We are clear and consistent in our condemnation of discriminatory behaviour and language and all fans should remember that their words and actions can cause offence to those around them and to the wider community. We will continue to work with our supporters to rid the game of all forms of discrimination.”