The Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi has been the victim of a race hate campaign on Facebook. Comments aimed at the 30-year-old have since been deleted and Northumbria Police are now investigating the matter.
"We have received a report of racist comments made on Facebook, on which we're working closely with Newcastle United," said a police spokesman.
"Northumbria Police take all reports of racist abuse very seriously and inquiries are being conducted."
Newcastle alerted the police to the matter and a club spokesperson said: "We have liaised with Northumbria Police and the matter is now in their hands. We have a zero-tolerance approach to racism and will always seek to take the strongest possible action."
Ameobi was born in Zairi, Nigeria, but moved to the North-east when he was five. The Facebook message regarding him was said to have been sickening.
Ameobi's younger brother Sammy, who has broken into the Newcastle first team, was targeted on Twitter last year, and two teenagers were arrested in connection with racist abuse.
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