Football: FA to investigate Schmeichel incident

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The Independent Online
The Football Association is to inquire into the incident between Peter Schmeichel and Ian Wright at Old Trafford last weekend after which the Manchester United goalkeeper denied mouthing racist obscenities at the Arsenal striker.

To reinforce the message that on-field examples of racism will not be tolerated, Gordon Taylor, the players' union chief executive, will address the subject at tomorrow's AGM of the Professional Footballers' Association.

"We are working hard to eradicate racism among supporters and it is important that players set a good example," Taylor said. He has spoken to Wright and Schmeichel about the confrontation and said: "Peter has denied making such comments."

Television pictures showed the pair squaring up at Old Trafford nine days ago after Wright enraged the goalkeeper by following through on a runaway half-chance. "I've seen a video of the incident and, to put it politely, it is not nice," Wright said.

The FA originally took the stance that it would not act in the case unless Wright or someone else at Arsenal complained. But they acted independently after Wright insisted: "I'm not in the habit of getting my fellow professionals into trouble.

"I've said things myself in the heat of the moment that have got me into trouble and I'm sure that's the case with Peter Schmeichel. But what he's done is there for everyone to see. Other people must deal with it."

Steve Double, an FA spokesman said: "Lip-reading is not an exact science and it's very difficult to prove exactly what was said just by viewing television pictures. But these are serious allegations. Our anti-racism campaign is well known and we are taking this matter seriously."

Wright, hardly a stranger to Lancaster Gate after a catalogue of disciplinary problems, says he will ask the FA to overturn the caution he received from the referee Graham Poll in the aftermath of the clash.

"It was a 50-50 ball," Wright said. "Schmeichel came out feet first, and I went in feet first, yet even though there was no contact I still got booked."

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