Schmeichel faces racist abuse charge

Peter Schmeichel could become the first footballer to face criminal charges for alleged racist abuse as his feud with Ian Wright burst back into life.

While everyone expected the Arsenal striker to be charged with misconduct by the Football Association for his behaviour at Highbury on Wednesday night, it was the Manchester United goalkeeper who found himself in deeper trouble.

Wright's complaint that he subjected him to racial abuse during last November's Premiership game at Old Trafford had not, as everyone believed, been quietly shelved.

Instead, the police have been carrying out an extensive investigation and papers have now been lodged with the Crown Prosecution Service.

There were no close witnesses to the alleged incident, but several lip- readers claimed that television pictures showed the Danish international swearing at Wright and, if the CPS decides that evidence is strong enough, Schmeichel will find himself in a unique test case.

"There has been a long-running police investigation into the original incident at Old Trafford," Steve Double, an FA spokesman, said. "As a result of police inquiries into the alleged racist remarks a report has been compiled and is currently being considered by the Crown Prosecution Service."

It would be the third time that United players have found themselves in a criminal court. Eric Cantona assaulted a Crystal Palace fan with his infamous kung-fu leap two years ago, while Paul Ince was acquitted for his part in the same incident.

Schmeichel could also find himself in trouble with the FA for the tunnel scuffle with Wright after Arsenal's 2-1 defeat on Wednesday.

Arsenal believe he provoked Wright, who needed restraining by three policemen and the physiotherapist, Gary Lewin. Inquiries were continuing yesterday to see if there may have been a racist element to the incident.

Schmeichel was incensed by Wright's reckless, two-footed lunge which has left him with a badly-bruised ankle and doubtful for tomorrow's game at Chelsea. The keeper was seen wagging his finger at Wright.

Arsenal, conscious of the bad blood between the pair, had taken precautions to isolate Wright as he came off, crowding the tunnel area with police and stewards. But United appeared to leave their goalkeeper to his own devices and he seemed to be involved in exchanges all the way down the crowded Highbury pitch exit.

Significantly, the FA has received an independent report on what happened from the match observer, Kelvin Morton, but it will not make any comment or decision until the match referee, Martin Bodenham, submits his summary.

He did not see the scuffles but the police officers involved gave him a full account and he has indicated that it will feature prominently in his report.

Indications are that Wright, who collected a booking which will already ensure another two-match ban, will certainly face a misconduct charge.

Arsenal's manager, Arsene Wenger, defended Wright on the night and refused to comment further yesterday, although having reviewed television pictures of the tackle, following through on the goalkeeper though whistled offside, Wenger may change his mind.

However, with Arsenal five points behind and a game worse off than the leaders, United, Wenger can ill afford to suspend Wright, who is one of the club's most popular players.

Warnock for Oldham, page 24

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Qualified NVQ Assessors

£19000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Software Developer - £80k - Javascript / MEAN

£45000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Ambitious, entrepreneurial busi...

Recruitment Genius: Fitter - Plant / Tool

£20000 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Fitter is required to join a ...

Recruitment Genius: Sage 200 Consultant

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They have a unique reputation f...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food