Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has revealed he saw discriminatory behaviour while managing in Italy and he is growing weary of ‘stupid’ supporters casting a cloud over football.
Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Manchester City last week was marred by the vicious abuse directed towards Raheem Sterling and Thursday evening’s trip to Budapest was tarnished by alleged anti-semitic chanting during the Europa League draw with MOL Vidi.
Chelsea have already condemned their own followers and urged fans to ‘summon brainpower’. The club suspended four fans after Sterling was targeted at Stamford Bridge.
Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said yesterday: ‘Chants like those heard by fans in Budapest are deeply offensive and unacceptable. Chelsea are right to condemn this, as do we.’
The Chelsea hierarchy are particularly furious as the club has pursued a campaign against anti-semitism. Owner Roman Abramovich, who is Jewish, has been behind it and last season holocaust survivor Harry Spiro addressed players at the training ground while delegations from the club visited Auschwitz concentration camp.
Manager Sarri has admitted he fears supporters will continue to undermine progress. The Italian said: ‘I can only say I condemn every form of racism and discrimination. There are the same problems in Italy. There is a form of discrimination with people from the south part of Italy. I was the coach in Naples for three years and I know very well the situation.
‘It is normal to fight all together against the problem. I am sometimes surprised that everybody asks England for the solution. There is not a solution. There are some stupid people in England, France, Italy… it is the same all over the world.’
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas has told Chelsea’s vocal minority of abusive supporters to stay away from the club.
After being informed of the chants in Budapest, Fabregas said: ‘I don’t know who is responsible for these things but I cannot accept or agree with this (behaviour). This is not the real face of Chelsea. I’m sorry to hear that.The quicker we get rid of these people, the better.’
Fabregas encouraged supporters to retain their passion but channel their aggression into supporting the team.
‘There are always insults,’ Fabregas said. ‘I’ve had so many of them over the years when you warm up and even jokes. That’s fine for me. When we cross the line with racism, it’s too far, it shouldn’t be allowed. If the people that did it get caught, they will be punished for it and they will be taught a big lesson in their lives.’
Fabregas may face disciplinary action himself after he described the referee for Thursday night’s Europa League game against MOL Vidi as a ‘disaster’ and ‘one of the worst’ he has experienced in his career.
Fabregas also appeared to question the integrity of Macedonian referee Aleksandar Stavrev, arguing the official may have given the Hungarian side more decisions as a ‘favour’ or because they are a lesser side than Chelsea.
Fabregas said: ‘It was -1°C, the pitch was terrible, the referee was probably one of the worst I’ve seen in my whole career, a disaster. The free-kicks he was giving to them, he was giving them everything. It’s like for a favour or because he felt they were weaker than us. I could not understand some of the decisions he gave. It was frustrating.’Daily Mail