Manchester United’s Fred reacts after objects were thrown at him during the English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England Saturday Dec. 7, 2019. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United players were targeted with racist abuse and had objects thrown at them by Manchester City fans during Saturday’s Premier League derby at the Etihad Stadium.
English football’s anti-racism body, Kick It Out, said it had been “inundated with reports of alleged racist abuse from a number of individuals” at the game, which United won 2-1.
One incident appeared to be captured on camera in the second half when a fan seemed to mimic a monkey gesture in front of United duo Fred and Jesse Lingard as a corner was about to be taken.
“Not even this idiot can ruin tonight’s feeling, shameful behaviour,” Lingard wroteon Twitterabove a video of the incident. “It may be the derby but there is never ever a reason to be racist!”
Objects, including coins and lighters, were also thrown and Fred was seen holding his back.
“Unfortunately, this is happening in some stadiums,” the Brazilian midfielder told ESPN. “It happened here, it happened in Ukraine with some friends. It’s sad, but we have to keep our heads up and forget about that. We can’t give them any attention because that’s all they want. I spoke to the referee after the match, they will do something about it and that’s all.
“We are all the same regardless of skin color, hair and gender. We came from the same place and we all go to the same place when it’s all said and done. Thank God I have a lot of friends here in the locker room who hugged me, like (Jesse) Lingard. I don’t want to think about it. I just want to move on.”
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was angry amid the fallout from more racism in a high-profile game.
“I’ve seen it on the video,” he said. “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.”
City said it was working with police to identify any perpetrators of racist abuse.
“Manchester City FC are aware of a video circulating on social media which appears to show a supporter making racial gestures,” the Premier League champions said.
“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.”
Earlier Saturday, a fourth-tier game in England was temporarily stopped by the referee for racism.
Forest Green Rovers pledged to take stringent action against a supporter for racially abusing a Scunthorpe player during the League Two game.
Referee John Busby spoke to both managers before a stadium announcement was relayed to the crowd, with the game paused.
The fan involved was quickly identified and an investigation immediately launched, with the perpetrator set to be handed a lifetime ban by the club.
“We can confirm we are currently investigating a report of racist abuse from a single fan towards an opposition player,” Forest Green Rovers spokesman Will Guyatt said. “We will be talking to that person as soon as possible. We would like to make clear that the club does not tolerate racism, and the ongoing investigation will end with a lifetime ban if found guilty.”