Everton say police will ignore Diouf's bananas claim

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The Independent Football

Everton insisted yesterday that there was no police investigation into allegations by El Hadji Diouf that bananas were thrown at him at Goodison Park last Sunday. The Blackburn Rovers player is being investigated by Merseyside Police for alleged racial abuse of a 14-year-old ball boy. Diouf told police after the final whistle – and repeated the claim on Monte Carlo Radio – that bananas were thrown at him from the Everton crowd. Officers immediately scoured the area next to the pitch and in the stands but no bananas were found. No pictures have surfaced to back up his claim either.

An Everton spokesman said: "Our only concern is a child protection matter involving a 14-year-old boy. We have spoken to the police and have been told that is the only investigation they are concerned with and that they are not investigating the behaviour of any Everton supporter."

Merseyside Police interviewed the striker after an alleged racist comment during the game at Goodison Park. But Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce said: "We haven't heard from the police and I don't expect to hear anything either."

Diouf said to Monte Carlo Radio: "People threw bananas at me, and the referee told me he would report this to the police. I have had other problems, with spitting or fights on the pitch – but not with racism. I can understand that they don't like me at Everton, but to say that I uttered racist words towards a child is nonsense."