FIFA’s protocol for dealing with discrimination at games was implemented for the first time in the Premier League during the London derby won by Chelsea at Tottenham, after apparent racist abuse toward Antonio Rudiger.
Stadium announcements came in the second half on Sunday after Blues defender Rudiger was kicked in the chest by Son Heung-min in an incident that led to the 62nd-minute sending-off of Tottenham’s South Korea forward.
Rudiger was seen putting his hands under his armpits – seemingly mimicking a monkey gesture – in the 63rd minute.
The third announcement came in injury time, by which stage – according to FIFA protocol – the game should have been abandoned.
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta said Rudiger had told him he heard “monkey noises” toward him in the crowd, and therefore reported it to referee Anthony Taylor.
Rudiger later posted on his Twitter account about the incident.
He wrote: “Biiiiiiig Wiiin! ?????????????? #NoToRacism #PleaseGetSomeBasicEducation #AlwaysBelieve #Hustle #cleansheet @ChelseaFC”
— Antonio Rüdiger (@ToniRuediger) December 22, 2019
Tottenham released a statement saying there had been “an alleged incident of racism” during the game and that the club was “conducting a thorough investigation which will include liaising with Chelsea and their players for their observations.”
According to FIFA protocol, the second step of the protocol should be an announcement leading to the suspension of the match and the players returning to the locker room for a specific period.
If the discrimination continues, the third step should the abandonment of the match.
It was not immediately clear if there had been repeated incidents of racism, or if the announcements were referring to the first incident reported by Rudiger.
“I saw the referee follow the protocol,” Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said.
“He came to Andre Marriner (the fourth official), he came to me and (Chelsea manager) Frank Lampard and told us what was happening.”
The racist abuse overshadowed an accomplished performance by Chelsea in a 2-0 win that consolidated fourth place in the Premier League.
Earlier in the day, Manchester United lost 2-0 at last-place Watford with a goalkeeper howler by David De Gea – for the second weekend running – leading to the first goal at Vicarage Road.
Chelsea are four points clear of fifth-place Sheffield United, while the gap is six points to Tottenham in seventh place and seven points to United in eighth.
The Blues’ win saw Lampard get one over Mourinho, his former boss and mentor at Stamford Bridge, in their first managerial head-to-head in the Premier League.
Mourinho will point to a pair of rash moments by his players, first goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, that led to Chelsea’s penalty on the stroke of halftime, and then Son.
Spurs were already trailing 1-0 to a fine strike from the Blues’ two-goal hero Willian when Gazzaniga came flying out of his goal and instead of using his hands tried to kick the ball, instead he pole-axed Marcos Alonso with a studs-first, chest-high lunge.
Son’s red card came after he was felled by Rudiger and reacted by flicking his right foot into the chest of Rudiger, who fell backward to the ground.
“Does Rudiger have broken ribs going to the hospital?” Mourinho said.
“Other people call it intelligent by Rudiger.”