Jan Vertonghen has condemned the racist abuse suffered by Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger at the hands of Tottenham supporters as a “disgrace” and said the incident is an opportunity to make a statement against discrimination.
Rudiger was involved in a 62nd-minute clash with Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min in Chelsea’s 2-0 Premier League win. The South Korea international was red carded after a VAR review and Rudiger indicated shortly afterwards he had been the victim of a monkey gesture from the home section.
“I didn’t hear anything but if these things are still happening it is a disgrace and we should act strong against this,” Vertonghen said postmatch.
“I got no idea how people still talk this way. Sometimes you think people are smarter than this. I am very convinced it is just a minority but anyway it is very wrong.
“I just can’t get my head around it how people do this. I’ve got no words for it and if any of their players are affected I apologise in the name of Spurs but like I said these are a minority of idiots. We don’t identify with these people.”
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Vertonghen added that this wasn’t just a problem in England and called on UEFA and other football associations across Europe to tackle the problem better.
“I always see England as one of the countries that is ahead in the multicultural society,” Vertonghen said. “I think [England] is ahead of other countries. It hurts and it is not just a problem in this stadium or in London or in the UK but it is everywhere in the world.
“I don’t know how you fix these idiots but this is an opportunity for the right people to act strong against it. It’s a problem everywhere and this is another opportunity to make a statement.
“My general feeling is that in England they act strong and maybe they have to act even stronger. Outside of the UK, I’m talking about UEFA and other FAs in European countries they can do better.”