Man arrested on suspicion of racism at Manchester derby

National Sports

Manchester United’s Fred reacts after objects are 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)

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Police on Sunday questioned a soccer fan who was arrested after being seen on camera at Manchester City’s stadium appearing to racially abuse Manchester United players by imitating a monkey.

During the second half of the Premier League’s Manchester derby, police said they were called to reports of a “supporter making alleged racist gestures and sounds towards players.”

United informed the referee and City officials that its players, Jesse Lingard and Fred, were being subjected to abuse at the Etihad Stadium where United won 2-1.

“We are providing support to our players who were impacted ,” United posted on Twitter on Sunday. “We will continue to combat and educate against racism and discrimination.”

A 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offense, police said in a statement which did not name the suspect. He remains in custody for questioning.

“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,” said superintendent Chris Hill of Greater Manchester Police.

“We will continue to work with Manchester City and Manchester United Football clubs on this incident and will investigate any other lines of enquiries.”

Fred was seen crouching on the field holding the back of his neck after being hit by objects.

“Thank God I have a lot of friends here in the locker room who hugged me, like Lingard,” Fred told ESPN. “I don’t want to think about it. I just want to move on.”

It is the latest high-profile racist abuse faced by United players this season. Striker Marcus Rashford faced abuse online for missing a penalty.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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