UK police investigate Mohamed Salah ‘bomber’ fan chants
British police are investigating social media video that allegedly shows Chelsea fans abusing Liverpool’s Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah.
The video, which circulated before the London club’s Europa League quarterfinal first leg match with Slavia Prague on Thursday, appears to shows Chelsea fans in a bar chanting “Salah is a bomber.”
Three Chelsea fans in the video were reportedly identified by the club and prevented from entering Slavia’s stadium on Thursday.
A spokesperson for Merseyside Police, which serves the Liverpool area, said officers were “currently investigating the publication of a number of offensive Tweets made in relation to a Liverpool footballer.”
“The language used in the Tweets is abhorrent and we are taking the reports extremely seriously. Detectives from Merseyside Police are linking in with the Metropolitan Police Service in relation to the latest Tweet and we understand a number of individuals who are currently in Prague for the Slavia Prague v Chelsea Champions League game have been identified and have had their match tickets rescinded for this evening’s fixture.”
Liverpool host Chelsea in a Premier League game on Sunday, with Jurgen Klopp’s side needing to win in their bid to win the title, while defeat for the London team would dent their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League
A statement on Liverpool’s website described the video as “dangerous and disturbing.”
It continued: “Already this season, we have seen repulsive discriminatory abuse inside stadiums in England, Europe and across the world; abuse that was captured on devices and put into the public domain. We have also witnessed numerous hateful attacks on social media.
“This behaviour needs to be called out for what it is — unadulterated bigotry.”
‘Strongest possible action’
A statement from Chelsea made no specific reference to the incident but described “all forms of discriminatory behavior abhorrent” and stated that it would take “the strongest possible action” against any Chelsea season ticket holders or members involved in such behavior.
“Such individuals are an embarrassment to the vast majority of Chelsea supporters who won’t tolerate them in their club,” the statement added.
Chelsea suspended four fans who appeared to racially abuse Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling in December and has generally sought to take a tough line on incidents of racism or bigotry among its supporters in recent years.
The club was also forced to condemn fans who “shamed the club” by chanting anti-semitic songs during a Europa League match with MOL Vidi in Hungary late last year.
In 2015, Chelsea fans were filmed preventing a black man from entering a train in the Paris metro prior to a Champions League match with Paris Saint-Germain. The video also showed fans chanting: We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it.”
The issue of racist and anti-semitic chanting has blighted a number of high profile matches in Europe in recent weeks.
Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal confirmed to CNN on Friday that it would be launching an investigation after after a Snapchat video emerged of a supporter racially abusing Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly during Thursday’s Europa League tie at the Emirates Stadium.
The video, shot during the game from inside the stadium appears to show a supporter using the ‘n- word’ to refer to Koulibaly with the word also written across the screen.
“We utterly condemn use of this type of racist language and have launched an investigation to identify the culprit.” an Arsenal statement read.
Earlier this month, Juventus forward Moise Kean was subjected to monkey chants when his side played in Cagliari.
English players were also racially abused during a European Championship qualifier against Montenegro in March. That led to England players, such as Sterling, and manager Gareth Southgate to call for more to be done by football authorities to tackle the issue.
England and Tottenham full-back, Danny Rose, himself subject to racist abuse in Montenegro, told the UK press he couldn’t wait to see the back of football because of the level of abuse.
Salah, meanwhile, was singled out for racist abuse at West Ham during an English Premier League match in February.
Addressing the latest Salah chanting incident, anti racism charity Kick it Out said: “It’s not on the terraces, but it’s still a disgrace. We don’t want fans like that anywhere near our game.”
Kick it Out also later applauded Chelsea and Liverpool for their swift reaction to the incidents.
CNN’s Sean Coppack contributed to this report