Fans of the Chelsea English Premier League soccer team are under fire after a picture emerged showing a group of fans in Budapest on Thursday for a game holding a banner with a Nazi insignia.
The team is already being investigated for an anti-Semitic chant sung by fans during the match against Budapest side Vidi in the city’s Groupama Arena on Thursday.
After an uproar, the team promised to take the “strongest possible action” against any supporters found to have been part of the chant, which was seemingly directed at fans of London rival Tottenham, many of whose supporters are Jewish.
According to the Guardian, images posted on Twitter since the match show fans from the Chelsea headhunters, an extremist fan group known for hooliganism, holding a banner featuring the SS-Totenkopf, a skull and bones graphic used by the Nazis.
According to The Guardian, the team is aware of the banner’s existence, but does not believe it was actually displayed at the stadium, as it was carried by fans who traveled to Budapest but did not have tickets to the match.
The anti-Semitic chant on Thursday, which came days after another racist incident involving Chelsea fans, is being investigated by European soccer officials, who could force the team to play a home match without fans as punishment, pending the probe.
— Troublemakers España (@TroublemakersEs) December 13, 2018
Chelsea in January launched a campaign to raise awareness and educate about anti-Semitism in soccer, and the club — including its Russian-Israeli owner Roman Abramovich, who is Jewish — has expressed disgust at the anti-Semitic chant.
“Anti-Semitism and any other kind of race-related or religious hatred is abhorrent to this club and the overwhelming majority of our fans,” said a Chelsea spokesman. “It has no place at Chelsea or in any of our communities.
“We have stated this loud and clear on many occasions from the owner, the board, coaches and players.
“Any individuals that can’t summon the brainpower to comprehend this simple message and are found to have shamed the club by using anti-Semitic or racist words or actions will face the strongest possible action from the club.”
Days before the anti-Semitic chants in Budapest, Chelsea and police opened investigations into racist abuse that was directed at Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling by a section of home supporters during a match at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium.