sport

Villas-Boas slams racist chants

Andre Villas-Boas has hit out at the "stupid" West Ham fans who chanted anti-Semitic abuse towards Spurs supporters during Sunday's match.

A section of West Ham fans mocked the stabbing of a Spurs supporter in Rome during Tottenham's 3-1 victory over their rivals at White Hart Lane.

A group of away fans were heard hissing, mimicking the sound of Jews being gassed during the Second World War, and also chanted the name of Adolf Hitler.

Tottenham, who have a historic connection with the Jewish community, have vowed to help root out the culprits and West Ham have already given one fan a lifetime ban.

The Football Association have also launched an investigation into the matter and police have cautioned two Hammers fans for racially aggravated public order offences.

"The level of aggression of the chanting goes out of proportion. It is complete stupidity," Tottenham manager Villas-Boas told a press conference today.

"I am grateful for the quickness in which both clubs have gone into the matter, plus the FA and police. I think West Ham have set an example immediately by giving a lifetime ban to the fan.

"It was obviously avoidable and I am pretty happy with the way that both clubs have worked with each other to try and get the actions right immediately."

Villas-Boas and his opposite number Sam Allardyce were reluctant to condemn the chanting in the immediate aftermath of the game, both saying they had not heard it.

Both have since had time to go over the footage from the match, which clearly shows West Ham fans chanting about Hitler and singing "Can we stab you every week?" in reference to the attack on Spurs fan Ashley Mills, who was left fighting for his life after a vicious assault in the Drunken Ship pub in Rome last Thursday.

Allardyce is convinced the people behind the chants will be found.

And when asked if supporters found guilty of such abuse should be banned for life, the West Ham boss told a press conference. "Yes.

"It's a small minority but at the end of the day a small minority can make themselves heard at football matches if they really want to and we must deal with it.

"The good thing is with security cameras and CCTV cameras, it's difficult for them to get away with it. Hopefully we can pick out those people and punish them in the right way."

Allardyce today added his voice to those who have condemned the chanting, including Hammers co-owner David Gold and the club's Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun.

"It's very, very disappointing to hear what has been said and done by a small minority of fans. No one condones that sort of behaviour," Allardyce said.

"I don't wish to hear any of that sort of chanting in the game of football anywhere in this country. We have to continue to do all we can for it possibly not to happen.

"If we punish the people who have done it in the right way I think we will cut it out and stop it."

Police confirmed today that no more arrests have yet been made, while Allardyce defended his decision not to condemn the chanting straight after the match.

"I was doing a press conference after the game and had no idea what had happened and what had been said or done," the 58-year-old said.

"I don't know how I was supposed to react to something I didn't know anything about.

"You are in a very difficult position. We had just been beat 3-1 by Tottenham, I wasn't in the best mood. I am not expecting the question. I am expecting to talk about football and I am a football manager.

"I didn't want to comment on it. Now, like everyone else, I don't condone it."