Arrest spotlights racism concerns in English soccer

Patrice Evra played in the game at Liverpool, where a man was arrested on suspicion of making a racially abusive gesture.

Story highlights

  • Police arrest a man on suspicion of making a racially abusive gesture
  • The alleged abuse comes during a Liverpool match against Manchester United
  • Liverpool Football Club has been involved in several alleged racist incidents
  • England captain John Terry has been arrested on charges of racial abuse

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. She did not name him. He has not been charged.

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.

Suarez was suspended for eight matches and fined £40,000 ($63,000), England's Football Association announced in December.

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

Liverpool issued a statement saying it was "very surprised and disappointed" with the decision.

Suarez did not specify what he said but said it wasn't offensive.

"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.

FIFA President denies racism in football
FIFA President denies racism in football


    FIFA President denies racism in football


FIFA President denies racism in football 05:37

The commission found that Suarez "used insulting words towards Mr. Evra" and that those words "included a reference to Mr. Evra's color," the FA statement said.

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.

The team made a public apology after Oldham defender Tom Adeyemi complained of being abused by Liverpool fans during a January 7 match.

"All of us are deeply sorry for what happened on Friday night and players and our club pass on our sincere regrets to Tom Adeyemi for the upset and distress he suffered as a result of the matter at hand," the club said in a statement on its website.

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.

      Football Focus

    • French football great bids adieu

      After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
    • Mario's 'Queen' tweet tops 2014 list

      He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
    • bpr south african soccor senzo meyiwa death _00000402.jpg

      Loss of a South African 'icon'

      Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
    • German alleged jihadist Kreshnik B (R) listens to his lawyer Mutlu Guenal (L) as he arrives at the higher regional court in Frankfurt. His face is pixelated for legal reasons.

      From Jewish football to ISIS suspect

      Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
    • Where has 'Super' Mario gone?

      One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
    • Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.

      Should rapist return to work?

      Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
    • Teen, 15, makes Euro history

      Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.