Chelsea have banned for life a fan they concluded had racially abused Raheem Sterling at Stamford Bridge last season and excluded five supporters for between one and two years over incidents at the same match.

Sterling was abused when he retrieved a ball in front of the Matthew Harding stand during Manchester City’s game at Chelsea last December.

Chelsea said they had concluded their investigation and issued the bans after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to initiate criminal prosecutions, and that video evidence and lip-reading experts had been used.

“One individual has been permanently excluded from Stamford Bridge for the use of racially abusive language and threatening and aggressive behaviour,” the club said. “Prior to making its decision, the club noted the decision of the CPS not to charge this individual with a criminal offence. While the club respects the decision of the CPS, the question that it had to determine was not whether a criminal offence had been committed, but rather whether the individual acted in breach of the ticketing terms and conditions.

“In this regard, the club operates to the civil standard of proof, which is entirely different to the criminal standard. In reaching its decision, the club took into account the denial made by the individual as well as a range of other evidence, including video evidence and evidence from two lip reading experts – both of whom advised that the individual had used words that are racially abusive.”

Chelsea said the five temporary bans had been issued “for the use of abusive language and threatening and aggressive behaviour”. The club added: “Individuals receiving the shorter exclusion did so on the basis that they have provided undertakings about their future behaviour.”

In the case of the fan banned for life, Chelsea concluded: “Given the particular circumstances of this case, the Club did not consider that attendance at an education course in return for a reduced sanction would have been appropriate.”

Chelsea said the supporters had been offered the right to appeal and that, where applicable, these had been heard.


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