Vertonghen Apologises to Chelsea's Rudiger for Tottenham Fans' Alleged Racism

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2019

Tottenham Hotspur's Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen passes the ball during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on December 22, 2019. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen has apologised in the name of the club to Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger after the German centre-back was the target of alleged racist abuse during Sunday's Premier League outing.

Per Dan Kilpatrick and James Olley of the London Evening Standard, the Belgian said:

"I didn't hear anything [myself], but if these things are still happening, it is a disgrace and we should act strong against it.

"I have got no idea how people still, or ever, thought this way. Sometimes you think people are smarter than this. I am very convinced it is a minority, but it is very wrong.

"I don't know if it is getting worse. It shouldn't be there in any way. I just can't get my head around how people still do this. I have got no words for it. If any of their players or our players are affected, then I apologise in the name of Spurs, but they are a minority and idiots. We don't identify with these people."

Chelsea came away with a 2-0 win, but the match was overshadowed by Rudiger's allegation. An announcement to stop any abuse was played over the PA system three times, and the Professional Footballers' Association has called on the government to launch an inquiry.

Rudiger took to social media after the match:

Antonio Rüdiger @ToniRuediger

I don't want to involve Tottenham as an entire club into this situation as I know that just a couple of idiots were the offenders. I got a lot of supportive messages on social media from Spurs fans as well in the last hours - thank you a lot for this. (2/4)

Antonio Rüdiger @ToniRuediger

If not, then there must have been witnesses in the stadium who saw and heard the incident. It's just such a shame that racism still exists in 2019. When will this nonsense stop? (4/4)

The abuse appeared to start after an incident involving the 26-year-old and Spurs' Heung-Min Son, who was sent off for kicking out at the defender.

Per the report, Spurs are using CCTV footage to try to identify any culprits. Willian, who scored both of Chelsea's goals, has called on the abusers to be banned for life.

It's the latest in a long series of race-related issues that have plagued the sport this year:

Rory Smith @RorySmith

I interviewed Romelu Lukaku the day before that Corriere headline, a week before Serie A launched that insane anti racism campaign, and two weeks before Rudiger was abused at Spurs. Lukaku isn’t afraid to speak out. Shame he has to do it so much. https://t.co/CWUDedVnGR

Per the Standard, London police are also investigating an incident that occurred during the Championship match between Barnsley and Millwall, where a Barnsley player said he was abused after their 2-1 win.