LIVERPOOL, England – Police are investigating footage of a Liverpool fan making a racist gesture during the FA Cup match against Manchester United on Saturday.
Jon Ward, chief superintendent of the Merseyside Police, says a number of complaints were made after an image of the fan’s gesture was posted on Twitter.
“This matter is now under investigation by specialist hate crime detectives and we are working with Liverpool Football Club to identify the man in question,” Ward said.
A total of 17 people were ejected from Anfield either before or during Liverpool’s 2-1 win over United, the rivals’ first meeting since the unsavoury race row between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra erupted in a Premier League match in October.
Suarez was handed an eight-match ban after the Football Association found the Liverpool striker guilty of racially abusing Evra, United’s captain.
“Most fans can be proud that they acted as ambassadors for their cities and their clubs,” Ward said. “I would like to thank the majority of fans for their behaviour and co-operation.”
In another high-profile Cup fixture, Anton Ferdinand was spared having to decide whether to give John Terry a pre-match handshake on Saturday after the FA allowed Queen’s Park Rangers and Chelsea to forego the traditional ritual before their match.
The match, which Chelsea won 1-0, was the west London rivals’ first meeting since Chelsea captain Terry was alleged to have racially abused Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October.
Terry was investigated by police and faces a criminal charge over the incident. Terry will appear in court Wednesday.
“The FA agreed to the request by both clubs in an attempt to further defuse tensions before the match,” the FA said in a statement, adding that it made the decision “following discussions on Friday evening and Saturday morning involving senior officials from QPR, Chelsea and the FA.”
The two teams issued a joint statement this week appealing for calm at Loftus Road but the Metropolitan Police opened an investigation Friday after Ferdinand was reportedly sent a package containing a bullet.
Fans were searched by police on their way into the match and Terry was taunted throughout by the Loftus Road crowd but seemed unaffected.
Juan Mata scored a 62nd-minute winner with a penalty kick, prompting Chelsea fans to chant “Anton, what’s the score?”