Tottenham say there is no evidence to support allegations of racism from Spurs fans towards Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger during their Premier League encounter on 22 December.
Play was stopped during Chelsea’s win at Tottenham after German defender Rudiger said he heard monkey noises.
A Spurs statement said the club and the Metropolitan Police had “now exhausted all avenues of investigation”.
Spurs added that the police had closed the crime report on the matter.
The Tottenham statement added: “We fully support Antonio Rudiger with the action that he took – however there is no evidence to corroborate or contradict the allegation and as such neither ourselves nor the police are in a position to take any further action.”
A total of six arrests were made following the match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as part of the Metropolitan Police operation at the fixture, but none were linked to the incident involving Rudiger.
One Chelsea fan was arrested for a racially aggravated public order offence against Spurs forward Son Heung-min, who was sent off in the match after a collision with Rudiger.
Spurs said they are able to “track every fan” using cameras at their new 62,062 stadium and that any supporter found to be guilty of racism would “receive a lifetime ban”.
On Monday evening, Chelsea issued a statement which began: “We support Toni Rudiger totally and unequivocally on this matter, and as Tottenham’s statement makes clear, a lack of evidence does not mean an incident did not take place.
“In responding to this incident, we must be very careful about the climate we create for players who experience and report racist behaviour.
“It is vitally important that we continue to encourage all players, whatever shirt they wear, to report racist abuse without fear of doubt or reprisal.”
Earlier Tottenham explained that they had worked with professional lip readers in their investigation and that all reports had also been reviewed by the police.
Their statement added: “We are fiercely proud of our anti-racism work and our zero tolerance of any form of discrimination. This is one reason why we have attributed so much time and resource to investigating this matter.
“Had we identified anyone guilty of this we were intent on issuing them with a lifetime ban from our stadium as they would have no place among our proud, diverse fan base.
“If any new information comes to light, this will be fully investigated.”
More than 22,000 hoax 999 calls were made to the Met Police in the first 11 months of 2019, the force has said.
These included a woman complaining that she had been sent three saveloy and chips from the chip shop, instead of one.
Ch Supt David Jackson said nuisance calls were a “huge waste” of resources.
Police have named 24-year-old Michael Paul Baptista as the man killed in a stabbing in London last week.
Mr Baptista, of Waltham Forest, north-east London, was stabbed to death in nearby Walthamstow on Thursday evening.
Police were called to an altercation on Bromley Road and found Mr Baptista who was seriously injured. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination on Friday gave the cause of death as stab injuries.
Det Insp Joanna Yorke, of the Metropolitan Police, said his murder was “not being treated as gang-related”.
Oguzhan Altun, 29, of Dalston Square, Hackney, east London, appeared before Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with Mr Baptista’s murder.
An evangelical church praised for helping ex-gang members has been accused of financially exploiting young people from its congregation.
One member of charity SPAC Nation said she was persuaded to commit benefit fraud by a trustee, while another said she had a £5,000 loan taken out in her name without her knowledge.
A former senior insider told the BBC that the church “has to be shut down”.
SPAC Nation denies the church is financially exploiting young people.
Kurtis, 23, was one of the church’s trusted inner circle until his departure in January this year.
He appears in a BBC Panorama investigation into SPAC Nation, which is accused of leaving young people with debts of thousands of pounds.
“Certain leaders shouldn’t be around youth, they shouldn’t be around anywhere where people are vulnerable,” he said.
The church’s leader Pastor Tobi Adegboyega “has to be held accountable”, Kurtis added.
Gracy was 21 when she joined SPAC in 2017. She told Panorama she was encouraged to apply for Universal Credit after her Pastor Ebo Dougan – who is also a trustee of the charity – noticed she had stopped giving money to the church.
She handed over her details to Pastor Dougan and someone filled out an online application form on her behalf. She then attended a meeting at the job centre.
The BBC has seen messages and documentation that confirm her version of events.
Gracy’s online application shows that after she left the appointment someone changed her details to show that she had two children. This made her eligible for a £1,200 payment.
“Even sometimes when we know things are wrong, in that moment I’m just thinking like ‘OK, my father figure would not tell me to do something bad’,” she said.
Gracy was told to pay £900 of the sum into two accounts. She kept the rest, but was later investigated by the Department for Work and Pensions, who fined her £600 and ordered her to repay the £1,200.
“I can’t afford it obviously,” she said. “I feel heartbroken because I thought this was supposed to be a family.”
Lovis was 18 when a loan was taken out in her name and without her knowledge, she said.
She was diagnosed with kidney cancer in November 2017.
The illness left her unable to continue working as an assistant sous chef and she began looking for a job with less demanding hours.
She was invited to an interview at a firm called Zuriel Recruitment. The agency was run by Tobi Adegboyega’s second in command Samuel Akokhia, who has a conviction for attempted robbery.
At the interview Lovis provided Zuriel Recruitment with personal details including a photocopy of her passport, her home address, her mobile number and bank account details.
At the end of the process, her interviewer – a pastor at SPAC Nation – encouraged her to attend a service that week.
“It was a bit weird,” she said. “But at the end of the day it’s church – so I didn’t really think much of it.”
‘For the greater good’
Lovis started going to SPAC Nation services and several months later moved into a safe house – known as a “TRAP house” – run by Pastor Samuel Akokhia.
In March Lovis discovered a £5,000 four-year loan had been taken out in her name without her knowledge.
The money never reached her, instead being transferred to a company called E. R. Management Group. That company is run and owned by Emmanuel Akokhia, Samuel’s brother.
BBC Panorama has seen paperwork confirming the money trail. It is not known what happened to the money after it arrived in E. R. Management Group’s account.
Lovis confronted a senior pastor about the loan.
“They basically said the loan was for the greater good and they were going to use the money to buy a bigger TRAP house to accommodate more people,” she said.
“And I was thinking ‘that’s all well and good – but why did I not know about it?'”
On Friday the charities regulator revealed it had opened its own investigation into SPAC Nation’s safeguarding and finances.
The Charity Commission also ordered SPAC Nation to “bank its money”.
The Metropolitan Police is reviewing allegations of possible fraud and other offences before deciding whether to investigate further.
SPAC Nation denies that the church’s lead pastor Tobi Adegboyega is financially exploiting young people.
It said the church had a “robust complaints procedure” and “a well run disciplinary system”.
SPAC Nation told the BBC that the church “is not responsible what goes on inside individual leaders’ or members’ houses”.
Tobi Adegboyega ignored BBC Panorama’s request for an interview.
London’s tallest landmark has been lit up in the lead up to the end of 2019.
Between 16:00 and 01:00 the next morning until 30 December, the top 20 floors of The Shard will be illuminated as part of three nine-minute sequences.
The designs have been created by the school children.
An American academic has given a graphic account of the moment the London Bridge stabbing attack began, saying it “felt like a warzone”.
Bryonn Bain told the BBC that victim Jack Merritt had been the first person to confront Usman Khan when he launched his knife assault during a prisoner rehabilitation conference on Friday.
“I saw people die, I saw things that I will never be able to unsee,” he said.
Vigils have taken place for Mr Merritt, 25, and second victim Saskia Jones, 23.
Three other people were also injured in the attack before Khan was shot dead by armed officers on London Bridge – two are still in hospital in a stable condition.
Prof Bain said former offenders attending the University of Cambridge-linked conference “stepped up and intervened” to tackle Khan, and people at Fishmongers’ Hall owed their lives to the actions of those who had previously spent time in jail.
He said two men from his performance poetry workshop immediately ran towards shouts from elsewhere in Fishmongers’ Hall in the City of London as the attack began, and as shouts grew louder he also went to assist.
“That’s when I ran down and saw the scene unfolding there,” he said. “I was able to see the attacker.”
He added: “It felt like a warzone… it felt like total chaos.”
Prof Bain said course co-ordinator Mr Merritt was “the first line of defence”.
“I want to honour him,” Prof Bain said of Mr Merritt. “I want to honour his father’s wishes which have been explicit to not have his life be used for political purposes to ramp up draconian policies, because that’s not what he was about.”
Mr Merritt’s father criticised newspaper coverage of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to review the early release of convicted terrorists.
Writing in the Guardian, David Merritt says his son “would be seething at his death, and his life, being used to perpetuate an agenda of hate that he gave his everything fighting against”.
The article calls for a justice system that focuses on rehabilitation, rather than revenge, and criticises indeterminate sentences, saying his son worked for “a world where we do not lock up and throw away the key”.
Prof Bain added: “I want to make sure that as much as possible that we uphold the heroes of the day, were formerly incarcerated people, some of the folks who are often easiest to dehumanise.
“They stepped up and many of the folks in that space would not be here today if it weren’t for these guys who did time in prison and literally saved lives.”
In other developments on Monday:
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended his response to the attack after Mr Merritt’s father criticised newspaper coverage of Mr Johnson’s pledge to review the early release of convicted terrorists
- Mr Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attended a vigil at the Guildhall near London Bridge to honour those caught up in the attack
- London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the best way to defeat the hatred shown in the attack was to focus on the values of hope, unity and love
- BBC News learned the attacker, Usman Khan, 28, had been under investigation by the security service MI5 since his release from prison last year, but given one of the lowest priorities. He had been convicted of a terrorism offence in 2012
- As part of his release conditions, Khan was obliged to take part in the government’s desistance and disengagement programme – which aims to rehabilitate those involved in terrorism
Vigils for the victims of the attack were also held in Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University, which Ms Jones had previously attended.
Mr Merritt and Ms Jones both studied for masters degrees at the University of Cambridge’s institute of criminology and had been taking part in an event for its Learning Together programme – which focuses on education within the criminal justice system – when they were killed.
Mr Merritt, from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, was a co-ordinator of the Learning Together programme and Ms Jones, from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, a volunteer
The victims’ families paid tribute to their loved ones at the weekend.
Ms Jones’s family said their daughter had a “great passion” for supporting victims of criminal justice.
In a statement, Mr Merritt’s family described him as a “talented boy” who “died doing what he loved”.
Toby Williamson, chief executive of Fishmongers’ Hall, praised the bravery of his staff who intervened to stop the attacker, hailing their actions as “extraordinary things done by ordinary people”.
Mr Williamson told how Polish chef Lukasz suffered five wounds to his left-hand side as he fended off the knifeman with a narwhal tusk during “about a minute of one-on-one straight combat” – allowing others time to escape danger.
A group of hall staff, ex-offenders, prison and probation staff are believed to have drawn Khan out on to London Bridge where he was subsequently shot dead by armed police.
Khan, who admitted preparing terrorist acts in 2012, was released from prison in December 2018 after serving half of his sentence.
The BBC understands Khan was formally under investigation by MI5 as he left jail but placed in the second-to-bottom category of investigations as his initial risk to the public was thought to be minimal.
This was consistent with the grading given to most other people convicted of terrorism offences as they go back into the community under a release licence.
A low level of prioritisation is assigned to offenders such as Khan because their release comes with a strict set of licence conditions.
These conditions theoretically provide suitable monitoring and oversight, such as alerts if they contact other suspects or travel outside an approved area.
Khan, the BBC has learned, was on the highest-level of such community monitoring. The overall package, in theory, relieves pressure on MI5 so the security service can focus on more immediate threats.
Friday was the first time that Khan, who wore a GPS tag, had been permitted to travel to London since he left prison. The BBC has been told that – earlier in the year – Khan was refused permission to travel to Stoke-on-Trent, which is where he grew up, in order to attend a social event.
The prime minister said on Sunday that 74 people jailed for terror offences and released early would have their licence conditions reviewed..
Police said two terror-related arrests following Friday’s incident, in Staffordshire and north London, were not directly connected to the London Bridge attack.
It came after the UK’s terrorism threat level was downgraded on 4 November from “severe” to “substantial”, meaning that attacks were thought to be “likely” rather than “highly likely”.
A second cinema chain has pulled the gang-themed film Blue Story after seven police officers were injured during a brawl at an entertainment complex.
It comes after youths, some armed with machetes, sparked a police operation at the Star City multiplex in Birmingham.
Vue has banned the film from its 91 UK and Ireland venues and Showcase has also dropped the movie.
The move has prompted a backlash on social media with some labelling the ban as “racist”.
Five teenagers including a girl, 13, were arrested in connection with the disturbance, which involved up to 100 young people in a public area of the multiplex, on Saturday night.
In a statement, Vue said the film opened in 60 of its sites across the UK and Ireland on Friday.
“But during the first 24 hours of the film over 25 significant incidents were reported and escalated to senior management in 16 separate cinemas,” it said.
“This is the biggest number we have ever seen for any film in a such a short time frame.”
A spokeswoman for Vue confirmed police had been called to some of the incidents, but could not confirm exactly how many times.
The Odeon chain says it is not withdrawing the film, but “a number of security measures are in place” for Blue Story screenings, though it refused to elaborate on what they are.
In Birmingham, a note on the door of the Odeon cinema at the Broadway Plaza said staff would be carrying out bag searches throughout the day.
Blue Story’s writer and director, Andrew Onwubolu, said Saturday’s disturbance in Birmingham was “truly unfortunate”.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, the rapper-turned-filmmaker wrote: “Sending love to all those involved in yesterday’s violence at Star City in Birmingham.
“It’s truly unfortunate that a small group of people can ruin things for everybody.
“Blue Story is a film about love not violence.
“I hope that the blame is placed with the individuals and not an indictment of the film itself.
“I pray that we can all learn to live with love and treat each other with tolerance and respect.”
An online petition has been launched calling for the film to be reinstated at Vue cinemas. It attracted more than 6,700 signatures in 18 hours.
The Vue chain has stressed the decision to pull the film was prompted only because of the risk of further violence.
“This decision is not, as some have alleged, based on biased assumptions or concern about the content of the film itself,” it said.
On Saturday, West Midlands Police officers drew Tasers and used a dispersal order to clear the Star City venue.
Footage from inside the multiplex appeared to show fights and people on the floor screaming.
The five teenagers – two girls aged 13 and 14 and three 14-year-old boys – have all now been bailed alongside a 19-year-old man.
Four were held on suspicion of assaulting police and one of the boys was detained on suspicion of obstructing police.
Another of the boys was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder after an image circulated on social media showing a number of youths, with one carrying a machete.
West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said the unrest was “very worrying and very disturbing”.
“Some of these children were so young,” he said. “I think parents have a role if they see those sorts of [weapons] in the home, to discipline their own children.”
The teenagers’ bail conditions ban them from leaving home at night, as well as from Star City and any cinema in the UK, police said.
Announcing it was following Vue in cancelling all screenings, Showcase said: “Due to the recent incidents tied to screenings of the film Blue Story, after careful consideration with the film’s distributor, Showcase Cinemas has immediately removed the film from all of our participating cinemas.
“Any guests that have purchased tickets in advance can receive a full refund at the cinema box office. We remain in discussions with the distributor with regards to the possibility of reintroducing the film in due course.
“We apologise for any inconvenience but guest safety remains our top priority.”
Blue Story, which was developed from a YouTube mini-series, follows the life of Timmy who lives in Lewisham but goes to school in Peckham – two parts of south-east London that have a notorious rivalry.
“That part of it was based on my life – it made my school experience very difficult,” director Onwubolu told Radio 1 Newsbeat.
He said he wanted the audience to see past crime statistics and headlines about knife crime, to understand how a “good kid” can lose their way.
“They didn’t come from child abuse or neglectful mothers. What kids go through in the school playground is so intense, it all starts there.”
BBC Films, which developed and co-financed the film, said it was an “outstanding, critically acclaimed debut feature which powerfully depicts the futility of gang violence”.
“It’s an important film from one of the UK’s most exciting new filmmakers which we’re proud to be part of,” it added.
Distributor Paramount Pictures said it was “saddened” by events at Star City but said the movie had had an “incredibly positive reaction and fantastic reviews”.
However, Errol Lawson, a reformed gangster from Birmingham, said the film was “stirring up” violence.
“The spirit behind it is stirring up this undercurrent, or supporting or fuelling this undercurrent, this narrative of violence, youth violence and disregard for life,” he said.
West Midlands Police has not asked for or recommended the film be pulled following Saturday’s violence.
Ch Supt Steve Graham said: “I understand there is a lot of speculation on social media and people are citing that film.
“At this stage we are not jumping to any conclusions. That will form part of our investigations as it carries on.”
Police were called to the complex, in Nechells, at about 17:30 GMT and cleared the area by 21:00. The officers hurt during the disorder suffered minor facial injuries.
Supt Ian Green said: “This was a major outbreak of trouble which left families who were just trying to enjoy a night out at the cinema understandably frightened.
“We worked quickly to move the crowds on, but were met with a very hostile response and officers had to draw Tasers to restore order.
“It’s clear that some of those who went to Star City were intent on causing trouble.”
In Sheffield on Sunday evening, there was an increased police presence around Centertainment on Broughton Lane ahead of the showing of the film after disorder was reported outside the Cineworld within the complex on Saturday.
“Officers carried out patrols of the area to ensure everyone’s safety,” police said in a statement, adding that they would “be liaising with Cineworld over the coming week to discuss further screenings of this film”.
Cineworld has confirmed that it will not be pulling the film.
England head coach Eddie Jones fears some Saracens players could skip the Six Nations campaign to help their club avoid relegation after a 35-point deduction for salary cap breaches.
The deduction leaves the Premiership champions bottom of the table. They have also been fined £5.36m.
Sarries supplied six of the team who started for England in the 32-12 defeat by South Africa in the World Cup final.
“It could have a significant impact,” Jones told BBC Sport.
“It’s something we need to weigh up and look at very carefully.”
Saracens have decided not to appeal against the punishments imposed upon them for infringements over the past three seasons so go from third place to bottom of the Premiership on -22 points, 26 behind second-bottom Leicester.
Jones selected six of their players for the final in Yokohama, led by captain Owen Farrell. The others were Mako and Billy Vunipola, hooker Jamie George, second row Maro Itoje and full-back Elliott Daly, who is yet to play for the club after his summer move from Wasps.
“Obviously there may be some dislocation between Saracens players and the rest of the clubs,” said Jones, who was Saracens’ director of rugby in 2008-09. “That’s a reality.
“So we may have to work to mend those relationships a bit harder, and there might be some Saracens players who feel like they’ve got to play for their club instead of their country, to make sure they don’t go down. So we’ll weigh all those up as they come about.”
Former Sarries and England scrum-half Kyran Bracken believed Jones was correct to be concerned.
“Country comes first traditionally, but the players will feel a sense of loyalty to the club having won so much with them,” the 47-year-old told the BBC News Channel.
“The thought of potentially leaving comrades in the lurch and leaving young guys to it… some will decide to concentrate on Saracens.”
‘I didn’t realise how strong the class structure was’
Ensuring any issues between Saracens players and the rest of the squad do not do any damage is the latest challenge Jones must face as England coach.
Earlier he told BBC Radio 5 Live that the biggest hurdle he faced when he first took the job in January 2016 was getting to grips with the cultural differences within the group.
“I didn’t realise the how strong the class structure was in England, and how that affects the relationships between the players,” the Australian said.
“When you look at the England team from the outside it looks like a very homogeneous group but in fact it’s very diverse and there probably hasn’t been enough understanding of the diversity of the group.
“We spent a lot of time in our World Cup prep making sure we understood the value of diversity.”
A report this year revealed that 37% of male British rugby union internationals came from fee-paying schools.
Jones, who hails from a working class suburb of Sydney, was asked whether the difference came down to the stereotypical rugby divide of “posh public schoolboys and state school kids”.
“Something like that, yeah,” he said.
“If you’ve got a group of people in here now and you’ve got five Japanese people, five Australians and five South Africans, they’ll tend to congregate together and that’s OK if they’re not playing as a team.
“But if those 15 are playing as a team then you want that to be completely mixed, and they’re the subtle things I was reasonably slow to pick up on.”
The Green Party has stood down its candidate to help Labour try to unseat former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.
Mr Duncan Smith has been MP for Chingford and Woodford Green since 1997, and has a majority of 2,348.
The Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru formed an electoral pact earlier this month. Supporting Labour in Chingford does not form part of that pact, the Greens said.
The Conservatives have been contacted for comment.
In a statement the local Green Party said the decision for John Tyne not to contest the election was made with the “ultimate hope of favouring the campaign of the Labour candidate” Faiza Shaheen.
A Green Party spokesperson it “was a decision taken by the local party”.
However, they added: “If Labour were serious in their concern for the environment they should reconsider their isolationist position on arrangements.”
Ms Shaheen, head of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies, said she was “so grateful” for the decision.
She said: “I will continue to fight hard for climate policy and democratic reform.”
The Liberal Democrats have selected Dr Geoffrey Seeff as their prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency.
Mr Duncan Smith has been MP for the area since 1992, representing Chingford until 1997 when the boundaries were re-drawn to include Woodford Green.
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Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is back in the squad for Tuesday’s Champions League Group H game with Ajax.
Kante, 28, has made just five starts in an injury-hit season, most recently suffering a groin problem.
“We’ve been able to get some work into him, he’s in the squad and he’s available,” said manager Frank Lampard.
Midfielder Ross Barkley (ankle) and defender Andreas Christensen (thigh) are also in training after injury lay-offs last month.
Victory at Stamford Bridge would see Chelsea go three points clear of Ajax in Group H and put them in a strong position to progress to the quarter-finals, with games against Valencia and Lille remaining.
“I said at the start that this group would be tight because all the teams could take points off each other. That has been proved to be correct,” said Lampard.
“After losing the opening game against Valencia, which was disappointing, we have shown a great reaction from that.
“I have to accept it’s expected of Chelsea to go through and that is no disrespect to any other teams. I have said already how hard the group is but it is more about our own expectations.
“That is maybe why we had that reaction. We wanted to prove ourselves, we wanted to go to Ajax and Lille and get results, and we did.
“But we won’t get carried away with ourselves in this group.”
Can Chelsea maintain 100% record against Dutch sides? – the stats
- Ajax have never lost an away Champions League match in England (W1 D3 L0), winning most recently away at Spurs in April 2019. Their last away European Cup defeat on English soil was in April 1980, a 2-0 semi-final defeat against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest side.
- Chelsea have a 100%-win record in Champions League matches against Dutch opponents, beating Feyenoord twice in the 1999-2000 season and Ajax this season.
- Ajax have won their last five away Champions League matches – prior to this run, the Dutch side had won just four of their previous 38 away games in the competition (W4 D13 L21).
- Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has managed more away UEFA Champions League games without losing than any other manager (seven games), winning five and drawing two. Only two managers have lost none of their first eight away games in the competition – Louis van Gaal (first 14 games) and Pep Guardiola (first 11 games).
- Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi has scored one goal every 47 minutes for the Blues in the Champions League (3 goals in 141 minutes) – the best minutes per goal ratio of any Chelsea player in the competition.
- Dusan Tadic has been directly involved in eight of Ajax’s last 14 goals scored in the group stage of the Champions League (five goals, three assists), including six of their last seven away from home (three goals, three assists).