Manchester City have released a statement saying they are working with the police after being made aware of an alleged racist incident during their 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United in Saturday’s Manchester derby.
With United leading 2-0 with 67 minutes played, Fred and Jesse Lingard had objects including lighters and water bottles thrown at them from the stands as the pair prepared to take a corner kick.
One fan was shown by television cameras seemingly making a monkey gesture toward one of the pair, with the clip immediately being shared by many on social media.
City’s statement, posted on their official website after the game, read: “Manchester City FC are aware of a video circulating on social media which appears to show a supporter making racial gestures during the second half of the match against Manchester United this evening.
“Officials from the Club are working with Greater Manchester Police in order to help them identify any individuals concerned and assist with their enquiries.
“The Club are also working with GMP regarding an instance of objects being thrown onto the field of play.
“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.”
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was aware of the incident, branding it as “unacceptable.”
“I’ve seen it on the video, it was Jesse and Fred and the fella must be ashamed of himself,” he told BBC Sport. “It’s unacceptable and I hope he will not be watching any football any more.”
Former United man Gary Neville, meanwhile, pointed to general issues in British society as racist incidents continue to plague football on a weekly basis.
“You talk about it being a societal problem and it absolutely is,” he said on Sky Sports.
“You’re watching the Prime Minister’s debate last night where the Prime Minister [Boris Johnson] is talking about migration to this country and people coming into this country and having to have a certain level… it fuels it, all the time. It’s something that has got worse in the last three years in this country, not just in football.”
Anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out also released a statement after the incident: “We have been inundated with reports of alleged racist abuse from a number of individuals during this evening’s Manchester Derby.
“We will be contacting both clubs to offer our support and hope swift action is taken to identify the offenders.”