London (AFP) – Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger says fans must report racist abuse they hear in Germany’s football stadiums or be “guilty by association” following two incidents in the country this month.
“People must stand up and report such things,” the Germany defender told AFP subsidiary SID in an interview in London.
“You can’t just turn a blind eye. Guilty by association — that’s how I see it.
“If someone next to you is saying things like that, you are an accomplice if you keep quiet.
“Some people seem to be able to live with it, if that is the case, then we have lost.”
The 26-year-old called on the German Football League (DFL) and German Football Association (DFB) to take a hard-line approach to any racism.
“Action must come, anything else won’t help,” Rudiger added
Rudiger says he was “speechless” when monkey chants were aimed at Torunarigha in a cup game at Schalke on February 4, then at Wuerzberg Kickers defender Kdadwo in a third division game in Munster 10 days later.
“Those poor boys, I feel so sorry for them,” he said.
“I was in contact with both of them when it happened and it just makes me so sad.”
Fans in Munster identified the culprit of the racist chants, who was arrested and escorted out to shouts of “Nazis Out!”.
After Torunarigha was the victim of similar abuse, police in Gelsenkirchen, as well as the DFB, launched an investigation.
However, Rudiger “expects more” from the DFL and DFB to stamp racism out.
“It’s not enough to just always hang up banners or have the captains read something out,” he said.
“Too much is happening, it’s already starting in Germany.
“I would be happy if they would catch the people who did this. Then I can say ‘okay, that was a good step’.
“If a politician makes a statement, that’s all well and good.
“But does that change anything for me? Can he ease this pain that I have?
“No, sorry — nothing changes.”
Rudiger was at the centre of allegations of racist chants during Chelsea’s 2-0 away league win at Tottenham last December, but a police investigation found no evidence of racism against him.
He says he experienced racist chants early in his career, while playing for Stuttgart reserves at Jena in eastern Germany.
“You don’t expect something like that to happen again,” he said, citing “bad upbringing” and “no education” as the cause of the racist abuse.
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