Posted on January 30, 2012

Arrest Spotlights Racism Concerns in English Soccer

Alex Felton, CNN, January 30, 2012

Police in England arrested a man Saturday on suspicion of making a racially abusive gesture at a high-profile soccer match between Liverpool and Manchester United earlier that day, they said Sunday.

Charlotte Spink, a press officer for Merseyside police in Liverpool, said the suspect was a 59-year-old from north Wales. {snip}

Police earlier said hate crimes officers were involved in the investigation.

They appealed to the public to help identify a man who appeared to be making a racist gesture and said Liverpool Football Club was cooperating with the probe.

It was the first time Liverpool had played Manchester United since Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was suspended and fined for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra in October.


Evra said Suarez repeatedly shouted a racial slur at him during the October 15 match and demanded that Suarez be held accountable.


“I didn’t insult him. It was only a form of expressing myself. I called him something his own teammates from Manchester call him,” Suarez said, according to the Uruguayan newspaper El Pais.

Suarez is from Uruguay. Evra was born in Senegal and plays international soccer for France.


Saturday’s arrest is the second time this month that a person at a Liverpool match has been accused of racism.

Earlier this month, Merseyside police arrested a 20-year-old man on “suspicion of a racially-aggravated public order offense” following a Liverpool match against Oldham.


Liverpool is not the only top-flight English soccer team to face allegations of racism.

Chelsea’s John Terry — who is also captain of the England team — has been charged by police for allegedly racially abusing Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand, and will face a court case in February.