Chelsea trying to identify supporter responsible for hurling sectarian abuse at John McGinn

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Chelsea's Kai Havertz, left, is challenged by Aston Villa's John McGinn during the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at the Stamford Bridge Stadium in London, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. - AP
Chelsea's Kai Havertz, left, is challenged by Aston Villa's John McGinn during the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at the Stamford Bridge Stadium in London, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. - AP

Chelsea are trying to identify the supporter responsible for hurling sectarian abuse at Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn on Saturday.

McGinn was abused while taking a corner in front of Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge, with a video appearing to show at least one supporter aiming sectarian insults at the Scotland international.

Former Hibernian star McGinn did not react to the abuse, but the incident has already been highlighted by former Chelsea midfielder Pat Nevin, who still works for the Blues and writes for the club website.

Reacting to the video on Twitter, Nevin, who has spoken out against sectarianism in the past, posted a message that said: “I’ve just received video of vile sectarian comments aimed at the fabulous John McGinn at Stamford Bridge. Heading there now for tomorrow’s game and will talk to the club. You get vile abuse from many fans of many clubs, but this is NO excuse! I hope and expect investigations!”

In a statement, Chelsea responded by saying: “We are aware of a video circulating on social media showing an individual using abusive language of a sectarian nature in the crowd at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

“Chelsea Football Club finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour totally unacceptable and we condemn the language used.

“The club is working to identify the person involved and will take the strongest possible action against them. Any supporter who was present in that area of the ground and has information that can assist the club’s investigation should contact the club via our discrimination reporting line: 0207 3863355.”

The Villa game was only the second at Stamford Bridge in front of a full-capacity crowd, following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, and the abuse has been condemned by Show Racism the Red Card.

Speaking to the Scottish Sun, Scottish campaign manager Jordan Aliison said: “The language used is anti-Irish and anti-Catholic racism. It is unacceptable in football and anywhere in society.

“Our charity encourages anyone who hears this type of abuse to safely challenge and report it.

“Show Racism the Red Card works with young people and adults to recognise the impact that racism has on the lives of individuals as well as entire communities.

“We offer our support to any individual or organisation seeking to reflect on their behaviours or use of language, and become more confident in recognising, challenging and supporting the victims of racism.”

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