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Police launch investigation into Hammers fans' anti-Semitic chant

Police launch investigation into Hammers fans' anti-Semitic chant
© Reuters
West Ham have vowed to ban for life a group of supporters filmed singing the abuse prior to the game.

Police are investigating fans seen on video chanting anti-Semitic slurs before the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham on Saturday.

West Ham have vowed to ban for life a group of supporters filmed singing the abuse prior to the game.

In the latest in a series of alleged racist incidents this week, the fans were filmed singing an abusive song about London rivals Tottenham, who have a large Jewish following, on a tram before the Hammers’ match at Old Trafford.

The short clip has since been shared thousands of times on social media and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said on Sunday they are investigating and appealed for information.

Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Boyce of GMP said: “Racism of any kind has no place in our society and I would like to reassure the public that we are taking this matter extremely seriously.

“Here in Manchester we pride ourselves on making sure fans from far and wide are welcomed and it is disappointing that a small few have brought shame on football in this way.

“Let me be really clear – racial abuse will not be tolerated and anyone that partakes in this kind of behaviour can expect to be investigated by the police.

“We welcome West Ham United’s statement which quite rightly condemns these disgusting and abhorrent slurs and we will endeavour to work closely with them to identify those in the video and I would also ask anyone with any footage of the incident or information they think can help us in our enquires to please contact us immediately and pass this on.”

Shortly after the footage appeared on social media, West Ham issued a statement which read: “We are disgusted by the contents of the video circulating on social media this evening.

“We are taking immediate action to try to identify the offenders, whose details we will be handing over to the police and will be banned for life from London Stadium and from travelling with the club.

“West Ham United is unequivocal in its stance – there is no place for this kind of behaviour at our club. We do not want people like this associated with West Ham United.

“They are not welcome at our club, they are not welcome in civilised society.”

Equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out tweeted: “We received a report of a video of a group of West Ham fans chanting vile antisemitic abuse today.

“We welcome the swift and positive response of @WestHamUtd and support the club’s determination to ban the perpetrators.”

On Thursday night Chelsea denied three individuals entry to their Europa League match at Slavia Prague after they were identified as being involved in a social media video which included a racially abusive chant about Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.

Arsenal condemned racist abuse directed at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly during their Europa League win at the Emirates Stadium on the same night, and also said they would issue the perpetrator a life ban.

On Sunday night, League Two club Tranmere Rovers released a statement saying they were aware of a “racist social media post” which they had referred to police.

“We have already commenced our own enquiries and in the event that the racist comment involves one or more of our fans, we shall not hesitate to issue the appropriate bans,” it added.

“We have a record of zero tolerance of hate crime and such behaviour has no place in our club or in football.”

The recent spate of incidents of racial abuse have prompted FIFA president Gianni Infantino to urge everyone in the game to adopt a zero tolerance approach – and give referees the power to abandon matches.

In a statement issued earlier on Saturday, Infantino said: “In recent days, it has been very sad to see a number of racist incidents in football. This is really not acceptable. Racism has no place in football, just as it has no place in society either.”

Last month monkey chants were aimed at England players during a Euro 2020 qualifier away to Montenegro, after which Tottenham defender Danny Rose said he was looking forward to retiring from a game which he feels has done too little to tackle the problem.

Meanwhile, England and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has rejected the proposal of walking off the pitch in the face of such abuse, insisting doing so would simply “let the racists win”.

Anyone with information about the incident in Manchester is urged to call GMP on 0161 856 4409 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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