A call has been issued for a Government inquiry into racism in football following alleged monkey chanting from fans during Tottenham Hotspur’s match against Chelsea.
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger reported being targeted by monkey chants during the second half of the 2-0 win at Tottenham - where there were three stadium announcements saying that "racist behaviour among spectators is interfering with the game".
The 26-year-old took to social media late on Sunday night, calling what had happened "nonsense" and encouraging people to talk about the issue of racism in football.
The Germany international told captain Cesar Azpilicueta of the alleged abuse and the referee spoke to both managers on the touchline.
Referee Anthony Taylor implemented the first step of FIFA's protocol dealing with discrimination in games, which is to stop the match and instruct stadium authorities to read out an announcement.
If this does not work, the next step would be to make another announcement, suspend the match and send the players to their dressing rooms.
The third step would be to abandon the match if the discriminatory behaviour still does not cease or breaks out again.
Speaking after the match, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said he would be "100% behind" his players if they wanted to walk off the pitch amid any future racism storm.
On Sunday evening, the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) called for "urgent and immediate action" from the Government to tackle the issue.
In a statement, the union said it was "disgusted and dismayed that once again, a Premier League fixture has been tainted by abuse from the stands towards players.
"Racism has no place in football or society.
"It is deeply disappointing that some fans continue to display vulgar racist gestures and chants from the stands.
"It has become clear that football players are on the receiving end of the blatant racism that is currently rife in the UK, but they are not alone.
"The PFA stands beside every player who faces discrimination.
"We will continue to fight on their behalf to combat this issue for good.
"Football is part of the fabric of British society.
"With the huge global audience that English football attracts, we have a responsibility to lead the way with a zero-tolerance policy.
"Racist abuse in football is not just an issue for black and ethnic minority players, it is an issue for everyone who loves the game.
"Whilst the protocols in place ensured stadium announcements were executed today, we need to ensure the perpetrators are identified and dealt with according to the law.
"We believe that the time has come for all governing bodies to unite collectively to end this abuse.
"The PFA calls for a government enquiry into racism and the rise in hate crime within football and immediate and urgent action from an All-Party Group at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to address this urgent issue."
Writing on Twitter on Sunday night, Rudiger said it was "sad to see racism again at a football match" and encourage people to talk about the issue so that a focus remains on it.
He stressed that it was caused be a "couple of idiots" adding he had received "a lot of supportive messages" following the incident.
He continued he hoped those responsible would be caught and punished.
Tottenham added they are "conducting a thorough investigation" into the allegations of racism and vowed to take the "strongest possible action".
"We are now conducting a thorough investigation which will include liaising with Chelsea and their players for their observations," the club said.
"Any form of racism is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our stadium.
"We take any such allegations extremely seriously and shall take the strongest possible action against any individual found to be behaving in such a way, including stadium bans."
Chelsea backed Spurs' response in launching their investigation, with a Stamford Bridge club spokesperson saying: "We welcome Tottenham's statement and trust they will fully investigate the matter and take appropriate action."
Kick It Out said it was "aware of the alleged racist incidents" and it "applauds the action of referee Anthony Taylor in following step one of the protocol and the ensuing steps taken by Tottenham Hotspur in repeating the stadium announcements.
"We have offered out support to both of the clubs and also to Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger."
Speaking after the match, Azpilicueta explained the series of events around Rudiger's reports of racist chanting.
"Toni came to me and told me he heard some racist songs toward him, so I reported to the ref immediately and left it to the ref to do his job," the Chelsea captain said.
"We are very concerned and very aware of this behaviour and we need to stop it.
"Now I hope everything gets clear and we eradicate it as soon as possible.
"It's an issue not only in football but in life and all together we need to work towards the eradication of the problem."
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho backed referee Taylor's stance in halting the match.
"I've not much to say apart from it's something that saddens me," Mourinho said.
"I hate racism in society, I hate racism in football, I'm disappointed that things like that can still happen.
"I didn't want the game to be stopped, but as soon as I knew the reasons why the game was stopped I obviously understood and accepted it.
"Racism is a sad thing in society, a sad thing in football, and still happens."
The match finished in a 2-0 win for Chelsea, but the alleged racism left a cloud over a game which should have been about Lampard, who won five trophies as a Chelsea player under Mourinho, beating his former boss for the second time and ensuring the west London side will spend Christmas in the Premier League's top four.