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Toni Rudiger: We must all stand up to fight racism

Antonio Rudiger has vowed to continue speaking out and fighting against racism after passionately discussing the subject in the aftermath of our Premier League game against Tottenham this weekend.

It was at Spurs back in December when the match was halted as our German defender made an official complaint to the referee after hearing racist abuse aimed at him from the home crowd.

While Tottenham said in January they were unable to ‘corroborate or contradict’ Rudiger’s allegation following an investigation alongside the Metropolitan Police, they have also insisted that the right course of action was taken by the player and that they would reopen their investigation if any new information is found.

‘The club should like to reiterate that we fully support the action that Antonio Rudiger took in this situation and we would encourage any player to do the same if they too are faced with this scenario in the future,’ said Tottenham in a statement welcomed by Chelsea Football Club.

‘An exhaustive investigation was undertaken with the Metropolitan Police at the time following the player’s allegation and we remain open to revisiting this should any new information come to light.’

Rudiger was booed by some Tottenham fans at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and he admitted afterwards that left him feeling sad and alone in the matter of fighting against all forms of discrimination.

‘It’s sad,’ he said. ‘I don’t know why they would. Maybe it’s because I spoke out about the racism. If you boo me because of that then you are poor people. This is a sign that we have a very big problem.

‘At the end of the day, I am alone in this case because I am the one who has to swallow this. It makes me feel like it will always be like this. For me, in this case, racism won. The support from my club was there but for me, this was not enough. These people need to be punished. They need educating.’

The 26-year-old does not believe the idea for teams and players to walk off the field after suffering racist abuse, as Porto striker Moussa Marega did recently despite the protestation of his team-mates, would solve the problem.

‘Walking off the pitch doesn’t make sense if they [the perpetrators] still don’t get punished,’ he added. ‘The consequence may be I am again the booed man. If there is no punishment for these people then racism won.’

Instead, Rudiger feels the onus is on self-policing, within both football stadiums and society in general, citing an alleged incident during the same game involving a Chelsea supporter.

‘If people are really honest, we have so many people coming into the stadium and in that game when it happened against me, a Chelsea fan got arrested,’ he continued. ‘Why? Because Chelsea fans reported the fan who abused Son [Heung-min].

‘On the other side, nothing happened. It’s the people who were around. That’s why I say if we don’t stand up, racism won.’

After becoming a father for the first time last week, Rudiger remains as committed as ever to help eradicate discrimination. He is determined to keep on speaking out to create an equal society and educate the next generation to be just as tolerant.

‘I became a father last Thursday and you start thinking society hasn't come far enough in fighting racism so my kids will probably suffer as well,’ he added. ‘If nothing changes, if young kids don't get good education and parenting, we will lose. We have to be this honest.

‘I will always stand up. It’s not only about myself. It can be homophobic or something like that. It’s about standing up for people.

‘If it happens at football, it is also happening outside and outside my son is going to be growing up. I will do my best to make sure my son is not stupid like other people. Sorry for this word. I don’t have any other words for this.’

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