Published time: 27 Feb, 2019 14:23 Edited time: 27 Feb, 2019 15:44
Premier League side Chelsea have issued fans a decree to 'keep support positive on Wednesday' ahead of a clash with fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur, a fixture which has been caught up in anti-Semitic storms in recent seasons.
"A small minority of Chelsea supporters have in the past tarnished this derby by using antisemitic chanting, noises and gestures, including the Y-word, offering the justification of opposition fans using those terms as a form of identity," a statement posted on the club's official website reads.
"We have repeatedly made our stance on this clear – there is no place for such behaviour at Chelsea Football Club."
It comes after a 17-year-old male was arrested during the Carabao Cup fixture between Chelsea and Tottenham in January for alleged anti-semitic behavior. Two further arrests were made for similar offences.
"Such actions or language have no place anywhere in football or society and everybody at Chelsea is proud to be part of a diverse club," the statement continued.
"Our players, staff, fans and visitors come from a wide range of backgrounds, including the Jewish community, and we want to ensure everyone feels safe, valued and included."Also on rt.com Abramovich ‘requesting reports’ on Chelsea progress with finding fans behind anti-Semitic chants
Some Tottenham fans, however, have defender their own use of the 'Y-word' in chants, with a spokesperson saying: "We have always been clear that our fans (both Jewish and gentile) have never used the term with any offense.
"A re-assessment of its use can only occur effectively within the context of a total clampdown on unacceptable anti-Semitism."Also on rt.com Chelsea fans in fresh racism storm over ‘Nazi death skull’ flag
Tonight's game is also the first Chelsea fixture since goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga's refusal to be substituted in extra time during last Sunday's Carabao Cup Final against Manchester City, which drew criticism from several sections of the Chelsea support.
Big-money summer import Jorginho and Brazilian winger Willian have also come in for vocal criticism from the Stamford Bridge faithful for under-par performances lately, which is also possibly part of the reason for the club to issue this unconventional directive to their supporters.Also on rt.com ‘He should never play for Chelsea again’: Kepa slammed after refusing to be subbed by manager Sarri
Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says that he hasn't yet decided if controversial goalkeeper Kepa will start Wednesday's crunch Premier League fixture.
"I have to decide [if he will play], maybe yes, maybe not," Sarri said. "He made a really big mistake. For me it's finished.
"He has to [ready]. He made a mistake. A big mistake. There are some consequences. If the consequence is to play, he has to be ready to play. If the consequence is the bench, he has to be ready to go to the bench."
The Spaniard's refusal to be replaced by Willy Caballero has drawn criticism from several figures within the football world, with former captain John Terry accusing the goalkeeper of "lacking respect."
For this part, Kepa insists that the entire situation was simply a misunderstanding.
"At no time has it been my intention to disobey the coach or any of his decisions," the 24-year-old wrote on social media. "I think everything has been misunderstood int he heat of the final part of a match for a title."Also on rt.com ‘Newspapers helping fuel racism in football’: Sterling speaks out after alleged abuse at Chelsea