Mourinho urges Spurs fans to turn in bigots
Jose Mourinho has urged Tottenham’s supporters to expose the racists within their ranks.
On the day it came to light that a Chelsea fan was arrested for racially abusing Son Heung-min, and had been shopped by a fellow Blues fan, Mourinho called on Spurs followers to do the same.
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger reported hearing monkey chants from Spurs fans in the derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. The game was stopped and three announcements were made over the public address system in line with the recently introduced Premier League protocol.
The racist behaviour became the talking point of the game and Rudiger condemned it on social media. The Government got involved yesterday by warning football to get its house in order.
Mourinho praised the conduct of the club’s fans since he arrived at Spurs but said they should be aware of how people around them are behaving on match days.
He said: ‘Look to the guy to the left and look to the guy to the right and listen to the guy behind and listen to the guy in front, and if anyone has any little manifestation, try to kill it immediately.’
Chelsea fans did just that, pointing out a supporter who was racially abusing Son, and the fan was evicted before being arrested. Spurs are trying to identify the culprit who aimed abuse at Rudiger and a supporter who threw a cup at Kepa Arrizabalaga during the game, which Chelsea won 2-0. There was at least one other clash among Tottenham supporters in the stadium where stewards were alerted to racist language after the first public announcement. One person was asked to leave and fans who reported the incident were contacted by Spurs yesterday.
Mourinho applauded the Premier League protocol but insisted that the broader fight against racism and other forms of discrimination in society must be led by bodies more powerful than football clubs. ‘Society needs help,’ he said. ‘And football is a micro-society. We need to eradicate any form of discrimination.’
Mourinho did say, however, that the abusive noises were not a true reflection of Spurs supporters.
‘It is not fair to say this is Tottenham fans,’ said Mourinho.
‘One Tottenham fan is not all Tottenham fans. Tottenham fans, at least since I am here, have been phenomenal. Home, away, phenomenal, supporting the team, respecting the opponents.’
But Downing Street urged football to increase efforts to tackle racism. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘There remains work to be done by the football authorities and we are committed to working with them to stamp it out. The FA, Premier League and English Football League have stepped up their efforts, but we expect them to continue to prioritise this issue. We will be monitoring how they implement their plans. We don’t rule out taking further steps if required.’
The warning came after the Professional Footballers’ Association called for a Government inquiry into ‘racism and the rise in hate crime within football’.
Tottenham released a statement yesterday saying they were trying to track down any wrongdoers: ‘We have spent many hours reviewing CCTV footage. We have engaged lip readers and contacted Chelsea for further information from their players.
‘We shall be exhaustively investigating this matter. Any fan found to be guilty will receive a lifetime ban.’
Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen called for strong punishments, saying: ‘I don’t know how you fix these idiots but this is an opportunity for the right people to act strong against them. Not just this country. In Belgium, in Holland, it’s a problem everywhere. This is another opportunity to make a statement.’
Vertonghen also took the chance to say sorry on behalf of his club. He added: ‘I just can’t get my head around how people still do this. I apologise in the name of Spurs, but like I said, these are a minority of idiots.’