(Reuters) – Chelsea have banned a supporter for life for hurling racial abuse at players during last season’s Premier League home match against Manchester City, the club said on Tuesday.
City’s Raheem Sterling was a target of abuse from fans near the touch line during the game, in an incident widely covered in the news for highlighting lingering racism among football fans despite years of efforts to stamp it out.
Chelsea had banned four supporters from matches last year pending an investigation into alleged racial abuse.
“One individual has been permanently excluded from Stamford Bridge for the use of racially abusive language and threatening and aggressive behavior,” Chelsea said in a statement.
Five others were handed suspensions of one to two years for “abusive language and threatening and aggressive behavior” in City’s 2-0 defeat in December last year.
“Individuals receiving the shorter exclusion did so on the basis that they have provided undertakings about their future behavior.”
Although the Crown Prosecution Service said they would not be initiating criminal prosecutions, Chelsea decided to ban the supporter.
“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.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)