London: England's football club Chelsea has banned a supporter for life for hurling racial abuse at Manchester City's player Raheem Sterling.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was initially looking into the case but they recently decided not to initiate any criminal prosecution.
The club then started looking in the matter and found that one fan had indeed racially abused Sterling.
Sterling was abused during the match between Chelsea and Manchester City on December 8 last year.
Chelsea had sought representations from the individuals concerned and they also reviewed video evidence before coming to any conclusion.
"One individual has been permanently excluded from Stamford Bridge for the use of racially abusive language and threatening and aggressive behaviour. Prior to making its decision, the club noted the decision of the CPS not to charge this individual with a criminal offence. While the club respects the decision of the CPS, the question that it had to determine was not whether a criminal offence had been committed, but rather whether the individual acted in breach of the ticketing terms and conditions," Chelsea FC said in an official statement.
"In this regard, the club operates to the civil standard of proof, which is entirely different from the criminal standard. In reaching its decision, the club took into account the denial made by the individual as well as a range of other evidence, including video evidence and evidence from two lip-reading experts - both of whom advised that the individual had used words that are racially abusive," the club added.
The club has also barred five other fans from entering the stadium for a term ranging from one year to two years for the use of abusive language and aggressive behaviour.
"Five individuals have been temporarily excluded from attending Stamford Bridge for periods of between one and two years for the use of abusive language and threatening and aggressive behaviour. Individuals receiving the shorter exclusion did so on the basis that they have provided undertakings about their future behaviour," it said.
The club said that after imposing the sanctions, the fans were given a right to appeal and, where applicable, those appeals were heard.