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'Spurs don't identify with racists' - Vertonghen apologises on behalf of Tottenham after alleged racism against Rudiger

12:00 GMT 23/12/2019
Jan Vertonghen Tottenham
The senior figure in the Spurs dressing room thinks any fans caught making racial slurs should be barred from attending matches

Jan Vertonghen has issued a strong statement on behalf of the Tottenham squad to say they don't want any racist supporters at their club after a fan is alleged to have abused Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger with monkey chants.

The incident occurred after the 63rd minute of Sunday's game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after Son Heung-min was sent off for kicking out at Rudiger during Spurs' 2-0 defeat.

Rudiger was then shown on camera gesturing that he had heard monkey chants and club captain Cesar Azpilicueta informed referee Anthony Taylor of the incident.

FIFA's protocol was implemented in the stadium which led to announcements on the speaker system in the ground saying that 'racist behaviour among spectators is interfering with the game'.

Vertonghen has called for strong action to be taken if the accused is proven guilty and he wants no racist supporters to come to his side's stadium in north London.

"It shouldn't be there in any way. I just can't get my head around how people still do this," the 32-year-old told reporters.

"I have got no words for it. If any of their players or our players are affected then I apologise in the name of Spurs, but they are minority idiots. We don't identify with these people.

"I didn't hear anything, but if these things are still happening it is a disgrace and we should act strongly against it. I have got no idea how people still, or ever, thought this way.

"Sometimes you think people are smarter than this. I am very convinced it is just a minority, but it is very wrong.

"I don't know how you fix these idiots but this is an opportunity for the right people to act strongly against it. Not just here, not just in this country, but in Belgium, in Holland, in other countries where I watch football, it is a problem everywhere and this is another opportunity to make a statement."

Tottenham have already banned a supporter for throwing a banana at Arsenal striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang in 2018, while Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and the Gunners are among the clubs that have had to deal with similar incidents among their own fans this season.

Belgium international Vertonghen still thinks that English football is ahead of other countries in the continued fight against racism and believes that there is a worsening global problem with discrimination.

"My general feeling is that in England they act strong and maybe they have to act even stronger," Vertonghen added. "I think outside of the UK, and I am talking about UEFA and other football associations in European countries they can do better.

"The way I see it is it is still everywhere, it's not that in different countries I have played there is nothing at all. I always see England as one of the countries who are ahead in the multi-cultural society.

"That is why I love London, that is why I love the UK and the fact that in this country where I think they are ahead of other countries, it hurts. It is not just a problem at this stadium or in London or the UK, it is everywhere in the world and it is wrong."

Blues striker Tammy Abraham praised Spurs players for supporting Rudiger after the incident while the club have also said that they have begun a thorough investigation into the allegations.

Chelsea's matchwinner was Willian, who scored both goals in the vital away win to create a six-point gap between them and Spurs.

Willian said that he wants fans to receive bans from all UK stadiums if they are involved in racist incidents.

"Of course, it’s difficult to see this [racism] situation. We are there; we are inside the pitch to do our job and to do our best," said the Brazilian. 

"It’s difficult when these situations happen. So us, inside the pitch, we have to stay concentrated and leave the decision to the referee and we did it.

"It’s a shame, we have to find a solution to stop this kind of thing. I think the people that did this to Toni have to not be in any stadium.

"I think that they will have to find a solution to stop. I think we just report to the referee the situation and we just continue to do this."