Football fan arrested after 'racist gestures' made at Manchester derby
8 December 2019, 11:32 | Updated: 8 December 2019, 17:34
A 41-year-old man has been arrested in connection with "racist abuse" at yesterday's Manchester Derby.
Two Manchester United players are believed to have been targeted during the match, with video circulating online of one man seemingly making monkey gestures towards one of the sportsman.
Brazilian star Fred and England international Jesse Lingard were allegedly the main targets of the abuse, and United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also claimed coins were thrown at them.
The man, who allegedly worked for the construction company Kier Group, has now been suspended over the incident.
Having tweeted on Saturday evening to say they were aware of the video, Kier announced on Sunday that an employee has been suspended.
The message on Twitter read: "Kier has a zero tolerance policy towards any racist and discriminatory behaviour. We can confirm an employee has been suspended pending an investigation."
Witnesses also claimed other objects were thrown at the players.
Superintendent Chris Hill said: "I would like to thank the public for their ongoing support with this incident.
"Racism of any kind has no place in football or our society and I hope this arrest shows that we are taking this matter extremely seriously.
"We will continue to work with Manchester City and Manchester United Football clubs on this incident and will investigate any other lines of enquiries."
Manchester City yesterday confirmed they would be launching an investigation into the abuse.
United reported the matter to City and referee Anthony Taylor.
A City statement after the game read: "Manchester City FC are aware of a video circulating on social media which appears to show a supporter making racial gestures during the second half of the match against Manchester United this evening.
"Officials from the club are working with Greater Manchester Police in order to help them identify any individuals concerned and assist with their enquiries.
"The club are also working with GMP regarding an instance of objects being thrown onto the field of play.
"The club operates a zero tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any kind, and anyone found guilty of racial abuse will be banned from the club for life."
English football's equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out said it had been "inundated with reports of alleged racist abuse from a number of individuals" during the game.
It added: "We will be contacting both clubs to offer our support and hope swift action is taken to identify the offenders."Solskjaer branded the alleged abuse "unacceptable".
He told Sky Sports: "I've seen it on the video. Fred and Jesse (Lingard) in the corner taking coins from the City fans first of all, so they've got to go away.
"And then there's this not-so-intelligent fella chanting racist abuse towards my two players and I hope City and the authorities will deal with it, because he shouldn't be watching football again. Not live, anyway.
"We have to stamp it out. We keep talking about it every single week and it's not acceptable. He should not be allowed back into a ground. That's how simple it is."
United goalscorer Marcus Rashford said he was not aware of the missile-throwing and alleged abuse until after the game.
He said: "But it can happen and in recent times we have been dealing with it a little bit better but the fact it's still happening isn't good enough.
"There's obviously work still to do in that area but for us it's about the football and trying do our best on the pitch."
The Professional Footballers' Association condemned the alleged abuse, saying on Twitter: "We are disappointed by what appears to be racist abuse from fans at today's Manchester derby.
“We welcome this prompt response from Manchester City. Racist abuse is a criminal offence and must be dealt with accordingly."