UEFA opens disciplinary action against Chelsea over fans’ anti-Semitic chants

European soccer’s governing body says its Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will deal with the case on February 28

Chelsea soccer players join the World Jewish Congress' #WeRemember Campaign. (Credit: Chelsea Football Club)
Chelsea soccer players join the World Jewish Congress' #WeRemember Campaign. (Credit: Chelsea Football Club)

PARIS — European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, said on Tuesday it had opened disciplinary proceedings against the English Premier League club, Chelsea, following alleged anti-Semitic chanting during the club’s Europa League match at Hungary’s Vidi last month.

A vocal minority of Chelsea fans were heard singing a derogatory chant about Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur supporters, featuring anti-Semitic language during the fixture in Budapest.

“In relation to the alleged racist incidents that occurred at the aforementioned match, UEFA has announced that disciplinary proceedings have been instigated against Chelsea FC,” UEFA said in a statement.

It added that its Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body would deal with the case on February 28.

Chelsea have been dogged by accusations of supporter racism in recent weeks. Four supporters have been banned pending an investigation into alleged racist insults directed at Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling in December.

Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri said the club were in a “fight against stupid people” following further allegations of racism from supporters in the away end during his side’s 2-1 win at Watford on December 26.

Days previously, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck had published an open letter to fans in which he blamed a “deeply unpleasant but vocal minority” for refusing “to join us in the 21st century” and damaging the club’s image.

“We must not allow a small minority of fans to bring further embarrassment upon us, and will continue to take the strongest possible action against them,” Buck said.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and several of the club’s players joined the World Jewish Congress this week as part of its “We Remember” campaign to help raise awareness about the Holocaust and fight racism and discrimination.

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