Liverpool apologise after website video shows alleged racist gesture

By Richard ConwayBBC Sport
Patrice Evra during the Liverpool v Manchester United game
Evra was back at Anfield for the first time since the incident involving Suarez

Liverpool have apologised after video footage of an alleged racist gesture by a fan was shown on their website.

Highlights of Saturday's FA Cup tie against Manchester United, featuring the incident, were still available to view more than 48 hours after the game.

A spokesman for Liverpool FC told BBC Sport: "We can confirm that footage was mistakenly included in the highlights package that appeared on the website.

"It should not have been included and we are sorry it happened."

The spokesman added: "It was removed immediately when it was brought to our attention."

Saturday's FA Cup match was the first time that the two teams had met since the clash between Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez at Anfield in October.

Suarez was subsequently banned for eight games by the Football Association, who found him guilty of racially abusing Evra.

The United defender was met with a chorus of boos from some home fans at Anfield.

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish claimed that there was nothing wrong with the booing and that it was no more than the sort of "banter" expected at any Liverpool-United game.

But Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, is concerned that it could have more serious repercussions.

"The booing of Evra was unwelcome," said Taylor. "For someone to be booed for reporting racist comments is not something we want to see happening.

"Black players may be worried about reporting such things, if there is going to be a backlash like this."

Police officers reviewed TV footage from Anfield after images were posted on Twitter of a man making an alleged racist gesture.

A 58-year-old man from Barmouth in Gwynedd, North Wales, was arrested on Saturday evening.

On Sunday night, a Merseyside Police spokeswoman said: "A 58-year-old man from north Wales, who was arrested on suspicion of a racially-aggravated public order offence yesterday following the Liverpool and Manchester United match, has been released on police bail pending further inquiries."

The video footage on Liverpool's website compounds a difficult few months for the club following widespread criticism over how the Suarez case was handled by the club and the arrest of a fan following the FA Cup third-round tie against Oldham Athletic on 6 January.

On that occasion a 20-year-old man from Aintree, Merseyside, was arrested, and then later bailed, on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence following alleged racist abuse directed towards Oldham player Tom Adeyemi.

Liverpool issued a statement after the game expressing that they were "deeply sorry" for what happened and they would "continue to take the strongest possible action against unacceptable behaviour during our matches".

The club have reiterated their stance that anyone found guilty of committing an offence will be banned for life.

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