Patrice Evra speaks out on racist abuse and how to combat it at Chelsea FC’s training ground
SUNDAY, 26 June 2018
By James Larkin
It’s been a difficult week for Chelsea defender and former Manchester United midfielder Petr Cech. On Saturday he was subjected to alleged racist abuse during a training session at Stamford Bridge by two Chelsea supporters.
‘Petr Cech, this is your fault. You are the reason why these people are there,’ one shouted. According to the Stamford Bridge report, the abuse was so egregious it forced Cech to leave the ground.
Despite the incident, and the strong condemnation of the incident by Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, Chelsea have shown an unusual willingness to discuss their training ground culture.
While the response of the club and manager Frank Lampard has been to express regret at the incident, and to state that the fans were ‘a minority’, Cech has said he is not satisfied.
His frustration was echoed by his Chelsea team-mate, academy graduate, current United player and former Premier League captain David Luiz. ‘There are times when you cannot win, but when you can, the club needs to be strong, to be united,’ he said in a statement.
The first step to tackling racist abuse, Cech believes, is not to jump to conclusions and punish individuals, but to focus on all the factors that are at play.
‘Even though it happened, it was not a reflection on the club or the manager,’ Cech said in a statement, referring in part to the fact he was not on the bench during Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Liverpool.
‘It was a training session, and there was a discussion inside the team about how to improve and get better. It did not get out of hand. I don’t think that many people realise how important training exercises are to this club and this group of players who are there every day under very difficult circumstances.’
Cech believes the response to the incident will not be a black mark on the club as it is being over-interpreted to