By Oliver Holt For Mailonline
Published: 15:20 GMT, 7 January 2020 | Updated: 16:45 GMT, 7 January 2020
The Antonio Rudiger case ended on Monday night, like many other football race cases before it, in an unsatisfactory stalemate.
The investigation into the allegations the Chelsea defender was racially abused at the Spurs stadium the weekend before Christmas spawned the kind of tribal ugliness, bigotry and abuse that routinely accompanies such incidents. No culprit was found. Thousands of culprits were found.
Spurs and the Metropolitan Police conducted a thorough inquiry. Spurs, it is clear, made strenuous efforts to identify the offender, or offenders, but neither they nor the police could find enough evidence to lead to the charging of an individual.
Antonio Rudiger was allegedly abused during Chelsea's win over Tottenham on December 22
Rudiger made gestures that implied monkey chants were directed at him during the match
However, Tottenham and the Met Police closed the investigation on Monday night
Spurs have acted swiftly and effectively in the past when they have been involved in such incidents. This time, they found identification more difficult.
They received reports from spectators who said they had heard the abuse but none were corroborated by CCTV footage and lip-reading technology. The decision was made to draw things to a close.
It is still not clear why the police did not speak to one Spurs supporter who went public about hearing the monkey noises that Rudiger had referred to. The man, who supports the club home and away, left a message with the club reporting what he had heard but he was not contacted by the club or by the police.
It is obvious that his evidence alone would not have identified a culprit, or culprits. He heard the monkey chants. He did not see the people making them. Nevertheless, even if his witness statement in itself would not have convicted anyone, there must have been a possibility it could have helped police build a picture of what happened. There is no satisfactory explanation for why he was ignored.
It all leaves us, sadly, in familiar territory. Both Spurs and Chelsea were quick to offer their backing to Rudiger in statements that they released on Monday night to accompany the conclusion of the case. 'We fully support Antonio Rudiger with the action that he took,' the Spurs statement said, which was a welcome rejoinder to some of the unsavoury accusations