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Chelsea FC, Metropolitan Police and Embargoed! work together

embargoedEmbargoed! announced there was no repeat of the racist behaviour from APOEL fans at last night’s Champions League return leg match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Representatives of the human rights group worked closely with Chelsea FC and the Metropolitan Police before and on the night of the match to ensure no offensive imagery was allowed into the stadium or any racist actions were permitted by any of the Greek Cypriot club’s 3,000 visiting supporters. Embargoed! chair Fevzi Hussein thanked the relevant officials for taking their concerns seriously and for allocating appropriate resources to deal with any potential problems.

Fevzi Hussein on “spotting patrol” with a sergeant from the Metropolitan Police during the Chelsea vs. APOEL match

Fevzi Hussein on “spotting patrol” with a sergeant from the Metropolitan Police during the Chelsea vs. APOEL match

Embargoed! has been in close contact with both UEFA and the Metropolitan Police (Met) following its complaints to UEFA about the racist behaviour of APOEL and its fans during a Champions League match with Chelsea in Nicosia in September. At an intelligence meeting organised by Chelsea FC and the Met (Fulham Borough) on Friday 4 December, Embargoed! chair Fevzi Hussein aired concerns about APOEL and its supporters, who are renowned for their Greek patriotism and xenophobic behaviour. Mr Hussein briefed officers and club officials about potential flash points and a plan of action was developed to monitor the visiting supporters.

On the night of the match, Embargoed! representatives worked with the Met on “spotting” patrols, monitoring the behaviour of fans attending the game. While APOEL supporters sported a mass of Greek national flags, there were no other reported problems involving the club or its fans. A political banner claiming “Chelsea fans support a free and united Cyprus” was left on the Fulham Road outside the stadium.

Edip Adanir, a journalist for Turkey’s leading football newspaper FANATIK, stands alongside the political banner left on the Fulham Road, outside Chelsea FC’s stadium before the match with APOEL FC.

Edip Adanir, a journalist for Turkey’s leading football newspaper FANATIK, stands alongside the political banner left on the Fulham Road, outside Chelsea FC’s stadium before the match with APOEL FC.

After the game Fevzi Hussein said, “We are pleased with the way the match was handled by Chelsea FC and the Met. There is a growing awareness and understanding about the racism and xenophobic abuse Turks are facing, and at long last appropriate measures are being taken to combat it.He continued, “It was good to see the APOEL fans well behaved on this occasion, and we extend our thanks to both Chelsea FC and the Met for allocating the necessary resources to ensure the match passed without any incident.”

At the beginning of the month, UEFA informed Embargoed! that APOEL FC had been fined €40,000 for the racist behaviour of its fans during the Champions League match with Chelsea FC in September.

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