Police investigate banana incident during Manchester City friendly against Limerick


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The Independent Football

Police were tonight working to identify a spectator who is alleged to have thrown a banana on to the pitch during Manchester City's friendly against Limerick.

Gardai and officials from Limerick FC and Thomond Park, which staged last night's game, have moved swiftly after City defender Gael Clichy revealed that an object had been hurled on to the playing surface during his side's 4-0 victory.

A statement released on behalf of Limerick and Thomond Park Stadium this evening said: "Limerick FC officials met with Thomond Park officials and local Gardai this afternoon to continue attempts to identify a person that threw an offensive object on to the playing field during the friendly game on Sunday night, August 5.

"An incident of this nature is completely unacceptable and is fully condemned by Limerick FC and Thomond Park.

"CCTV footage is still being analysed and when the offending party is identified, appropriate action will be taken.

"It is deeply upsetting that the actions of one individual have soured the experience for all those in attendance."

An investigation was launched after France international Clichy drew attention to the issue via his Twitter account.

He tweeted: "How sad to see 'bananas thrown on the pitch' tonight... Knowing people around the world need food. £nowordsforthis."

It is understood Clichy did not inform City officials after the game, and that no complaint was made by the Barclays Premier League club.

However, the organisers reacted immediately and vowed to deal firmly with the perpetrator.

An earlier statement said: "Any individual identified as being involved in an incident of this nature will be banned from future attendance and the matter will be handed over to the Gardai.

"All those involved with the friendly game fully condemn all forms of unacceptable behaviour of this nature."

The incident came just a day after City's Premier League colleagues Newcastle asked Dutch club Den Haag to investigate reports that sections of their fans racially abused some of their players during Saturday's 0-0 friendly draw in Holland.

Although the Magpies have insisted the matter will be dealt with privately, Senegal international striker Demba Ba condemned those responsible.

He did not hear the chants, but team-mate Cheick Tiote was said to be furious, and the striker urged those responsible to "grow up".

Ba told the Evening Chronicle: "I did not hear it because I was focusing on the game.

"If they do that, they are really stupid dudes. They have to grow up.

"People have to man up. There are many people on earth and you have to be responsible."

Ged Grebby, chief executive of Show Racism the Red Card, was both surprised and disappointed to hear of the allegations.

He said: "The fact it's coming in in friendly games is worrying, and in different countries.

"Ireland actually has a good reputation. We have a Show Racism the Red Card campaign in Ireland which does a lot of good work, and it's similar in Holland.

"The Dutch and Irish fans have good very good reputations, and they kept those reputations intact throughout the Euros, so these incidents are quite surprising."

Show Racism the Red card calls for bans of three to five years for spectators found guilty of racially-motivated offences.