Liverpool’s Klopp condemns ‘disgusting’ Salah abuse ahead of Chelsea clash

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Mohamed Salah during the warm up before the Champions League quarter-final first-leg game between Liverpool and FC Porto at Anfield. (Reuters)
Updated 12 April 2019

Liverpool’s Klopp condemns ‘disgusting’ Salah abuse ahead of Chelsea clash

  • A video circulated on social media ahead of Chelsea’s Europa League match at Slavia Prague this week showed a group of six supporters chanting ‘Salah is a bomber’
  • Egypt forward Salah, who played for Chelsea before joining Roma in 2016, is a practicing Muslim and has previously faced abuse about his religion

LONDON: Jurgen Klopp has condemned “disgusting” racist abuse aimed at Mohamed Salah and called for lifetime bans for the Chelsea fans accused of taunting the Liverpool star.
A video circulated on social media ahead of Chelsea’s Europa League match at Slavia Prague this week showed a group of six supporters chanting “Salah is a bomber” repeatedly.
Egypt forward Salah, who played for Chelsea before joining Roma in 2016, is a practicing Muslim and has previously faced abuse about his religion.
Chelsea’s security staff identified three people in the widely shared video and denied that trio entry to Thursday’s clash in Prague.
It is understood that the remaining three people in the video did not attempt to enter Slavia’s Sinobo Stadium for Chelsea’s 1-0 quarter-final first-leg victory.
Liverpool said the video showed “vile discriminatory chants” and was “dangerous and disturbing,” while Chelsea issued a statement pledging to use all available punishments against those involved.
The incident is especially sensitive as Liverpool host Chelsea on Sunday in a match with huge implications in the Premier League title race and the battle to finish in the top four.
Asked about the latest incident of racism in football this season, Klopp made it clear the behavior should not be tolerated.
“It’s disgusting. Another example of something which should not happen. We should not see it as a Chelsea or Liverpool thing,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
“If you do something like that you should not be able to enter a stadium again, from my point of view, for life,” he added.
Four Chelsea supporters were suspended by the club for allegedly abusing Raheem Sterling during Manchester City’s defeat at Stamford Bridge on December 8.
Chelsea also criticized anti-Semitic chanting by Blues fans during the club’s 2-2 Europa League draw at Hungarian side MOL Vidi on December 13.
Klopp believes life bans from stadiums are the only appropriate punishment for anyone found guilty of racism.
“The stronger the reaction from all of us, the more it will help to avoid things like this in the future,” he said.
The German manager believes football authorities, clubs and players must unite with one voice to condemn such actions and make a stand together.
“It is a complete misunderstanding of how life should be — all parts of racism are that some people think they are more worthy or valuable than others and that’s the biggest misunderstanding in the world out there,” he said.
“Football is the best example of how people from different races can work together brilliantly.
“Go into any dressing room in the world and you see players sitting next to each other, and nobody cares where you come from or who your parents are.
“Because football is very public we talk a lot about this so I think we pretty much have a strong voice and we have to use that strong voice and say altogether things like this are not allowed to happen again.”

What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

Updated 03 June 2020

What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

  • Restart to begin with 2 matches on June 17, to ensure every side played same number of games

LONDON: The Premier League's return is just two weeks away but there are plenty of details for the 20 clubs in the English top-flight to work out before competitive action resumes on June 17.

AFP Sport looks at what is on the agenda at the latest in a series of meetings between the clubs on Thursday.

There have been squabbles over how final league standings should be decided if the season cannot be completed but clubs need a contingency arrangement if a spike in coronavirus cases wrecks their plans.

Most of the teams in the bottom half of the table are reportedly pushing for relegation to be scrapped if the season is not completed on the field.

That still seems highly unlikely, with the English Football Association and English Football League both insisting on promotion and relegation throughout the pyramid.

A points-per-game formula is the most likely option and is part of the reason why the restart will begin with two matches on June 17, to ensure every side has played the same number of games.

Once the two outstanding games — Manchester City vs. Arsenal and Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United — have been played, all 20 sides will have nine games remaining.

No dates for other matches have yet been released, but fixtures are expected to continue from where they left off in March and be crammed into just five weeks ahead of the FA Cup final on August 1.

A long layoff, little time together in contact training and a gruelling schedule mean players' bodies will be pushed to the limits.

In an attempt to minimize injuries and fatigue, world governing body FIFA has allowed leagues to temporarily change their rules to allow five substitutes.

Chelsea have also reportedly proposed increasing the number of substitutes available from seven to nine.

However, critics have suggested those changes will simply play into the hands of the bigger clubs with deeper squads.

Premier League clubs appear to have won their battle to have games played in their own grounds rather than on neutral sites.

However, the UK's national lead for football policing confirmed last week that a "small number" of fixtures will take place at neutral venues.

That is likely to include any match that could see Liverpool crowned champions for the first time in 30 years, to try and avoid crowds gathering at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is unconcerned by playing at neutral venues, with results from four rounds of Germany's Bundesliga showing no advantage for home sides in a closed-doors environment.

"We will not have the help from the crowd but no team will have that, so where is the advantage?" Klopp told the BBC.

"Whoever we play it is the same situation, which is why I'm not too worried about it."

The use of VAR could also be dispensed with for the rest of the season should the clubs wish to further cut the number of people required for games to go ahead.

However, the Premier League's CEO Richard Masters is keen for it to remain.

"VAR has its own social-distancing issues, but we think there is a way of completing the season with VAR," Masters told Sky Sports.