The Football Association said yesterday it would investigate allegations that the Everton striker Duncan Ferguson made racist remarks to Fulham's Luis Boa Morte.
Fulham filed a formal complaint, which stems from the FA Cup fourth round tie at Everton on 24 January, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Boa Morte claimed earlier this week that Ferguson racially abused him, though Ferguson's lawyer, Kevin Dooley, dismissed the allegation, saying: "There's no truth in it".
The FA said the allegations would be investigated by its compliance unit "with immediate effect".
Chris Coleman, the Fulham manager, had criticised the Portuguese international for taking his story to the press rather than directly to the FA and the powers that be at Soho Square, in turn, are unhappy that Fulham took so long to undertake an internal investigation before filing their complaint to the English game's governing body.
Fulham's handling of the case has come under scrutiny as it emerged last night that Coleman actually thought the complaint had been dispatched to the FA on Wednesday morning.
However, Coleman can take comfort in the knowledge that Boa Morte is not planning any further outbursts to the media. Despite the furore, Boa Morte - who must also respond to a separate FA demand for a "full explanation" of his claim against Ferguson - is apparently coping with the media attention. Amadeu Paixco, Boa Morte's agent, said: "Luis is doing OK. He doesn't want to speak to any reporters now. He's going to keep quiet until Fulham say he can talk.
"He did well [on Wednesday night against Everton in the FA Cup replay]. I don't know if he was man of the match but he set up both goals."
Boa Morte twisted his way clear of three opponents to set up Junichi Inamoto who scored with a fierce 25-yard drive in the 56th minute. Francis Jeffers then hit a last minute equaliser - just as he had in the first game at Goodison Park - before Boa Morte set up Steed Malbranque to score Fulham's winner in extra-time.Reuse content