Klopp Condemns Racial Dig At Salah Ahead Of Chelsea Clash
Jurgen Klopp has condemned “disgusting” racist abuse aimed at Mohammed Salah and called for lifetime bans for the Chelsea fans accused of taunting the Liverpool star.
A video circulated on social media ahead of Chelsea’s Europa League match at Slavia Prague this week showed a group of six supporters chanting “Salah is a bomber” repeatedly.
Egypt forward Salah, who played for Chelsea before joining Roma in 2016, is a practising Muslim and has previously faced abuse about his religion.
Chelsea’s security staff identified three people in the widely shared video and denied that trio entry to Thursday’s clash in Prague.
It is understood that the remaining three people in the video did not attempt to enter Slavia’s Sinobo Stadium for Chelsea’s 1-0 quarter-final first-leg victory.
Liverpool said the video showed “vile discriminatory chants” and was “dangerous and disturbing”, while Chelsea issued a statement pledging to use all available punishments against those involved.
The incident is especially sensitive as Liverpool host Chelsea on Sunday in a match with huge implications in the Premier League title race and the battle to finish in the top four.
Asked about the latest incident of racism in football this season, Klopp made it clear the behaviour should not be tolerated.
“It’s disgusting. Another example of something which should not happen. We should not see it as a Chelsea or Liverpool thing,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
“If you do something like that you should not be able to enter a stadium again, from my point of view, for life,” he added.
Four Chelsea supporters were suspended by the club for allegedly abusing Raheem Sterling during Manchester City’s defeat at Stamford Bridge on December 8.
Chelsea also criticised anti-Semitic chanting by Blues fans during the club’s 2-2 Europa League draw at Hungarian side MOL Vidi on December 13.
Klopp believes life bans from stadiums are the only appropriate punishment for anyone found guilty of racism.
“The stronger the reaction from all of us, the more it will help to avoid things like this in the future,” he said.
The German manager believes football authorities, clubs and players must unite with one voice to condemn such actions and make a stand together.
“It is a complete misunderstanding of how life should be — all parts of racism are that some people think they are more worthy or valuable than others and that’s the biggest misunderstanding in the world out there,” he said.
“Football is the best example of how people from different races can work together brilliantly.
“Go into any dressing room in the world and you see players sitting next to each other, and nobody cares where you come from or who your parents are.
“Because football is very public we talk a lot about this so I think we pretty much have a strong voice and we have to use that strong voice and say altogether things like this are not allowed to happen again.”