Photo caption: Juventus’ Mirko Vucinic, right, is tackled by Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel during their Champions League group E soccer match at Stamford Bridge, London, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)
LONDON (AP) — Chelsea has asked police to investigate racist abuse directed at midfielder John Obi Mikel, while black Tottenham players were apparently taunted during a Europa League match.
Racist tweets were sent to Mikel after the Nigeria international’s mistake in Wednesday’s Champions League opener against Juventus led to Chelsea conceding an equalizer.
Mikel, who has apologized for giving the ball away late in the match at Stamford Bridge, deleted his Twitter account Thursday.
“We’ve been made aware of racist tweets targeted at Mikel which are totally unacceptable, disgusting and abhorrent,” Chelsea said in a statement. “We’ve informed the police and support taking the strongest possible action.”
On Thursday night at White Hart Lane, Lazio fans allegedly aimed monkey chants at Tottenham players Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend during the 0-0 draw.
UEFA President Michel Platini was at the match, and Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas expects European football’s governing body to take action if the case is proven.
“UEFA is very active on this kind of situation so and our overall objective is to kick racism out of football,” Villas-Boas said. “I can’t point the finger at anyone in any way shape or form tonight because I didn’t hear anything. It’s for the authorities to follow up in any kind of investigation.”
On Wednesday, British lawmakers urged football authorities to do more to combat racism in football.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.