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Arsenal probed over fan ‘racist abuse’ at Cheick Tiote

Published: March 15, 2012 | 10:48 am
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THE Football Association are investigating claims an Arsenal fan racially abused Newcastle United player Cheick Tiote on Monday night.

Television cameras captured a supporter yelling alleged racist remarks at the midfielder while the Magpies played the North London club at the Emirates Stadium.

The FA announced they were looking into the allegations as Arsenal launched their own internal investigation.

An FA spokesperson said they were “aware of the incident and we will be looking into this”.

The fan’s tirade was picked up by a journalist attending the match.

Arsenal are examining film footage in a bid to track down the supporter.

An Arsenal spokesman said: “Arsenal Football Club does not tolerate any form of abusive or anti-social behaviour. We will act with zero tolerance to any unacceptable behaviour.

“We are currently reviewing all TV and CCTV footage from Monday night’s match and if any individual is found to be acting in an abusive manner, they face a ban from Emirates Stadium and we will pass all evidence to the police.”

The 25-year-old midfielder – originally from Ivory Coast in West Africa – was bought by Newcastle United from Dutch side FC Twente for £3.5m in August 2010.

Arsenal won Monday’s game 2-1 thanks to a Thomas Vermaelen winner deep into injury time. Hatem ben Arfa had opened the scoring for Newcastle before Robin Van Persie equalised.

The London incident represents the fourth time in five months Toon players have been the target of alleged racial abuse from fans.

Just last month, two teenage friends who racially abused 19-year-old Newcastle United footballer Sammy Ameobi on Twitter were given final warnings by police.

The 17-year-olds were arrested in November after a derogatory term was used to describe the up-and-coming forward on the social networking site.

Sammy’s brother and the club’s longest serving player Shola Ameobi also suffered at the hands of racists when he was targeted on Facebook.

In February Peter Copeland, 29, of Durham was given an 18 month suspended sentence after tweeting about Toon star striker Demba Ba during an online row over Twitter.

A spokeswoman for Newcastle United said yesterday that the club would not be making any comment while the investigation was ongoing.

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