Greater Manchester Police have arrested a 41-year-old man in connection with allegations of racist abuse towards Manchester United players at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The 2-1 derby victory for United was marred by an altercation between Manchester City fans and United players in one of the corners of the ground, which included objects being thrown at midfielder Fred and more than one United player claiming they were racially abused.
Police and Manchester City have been investigating footage of a person making a suspected racist gesture that was circulated on social media, and on Sunday GMP confirmed they had made an arrest.
“At around 6.55 pm on Saturday 7 December 2019 police were called to a report of a supporter making alleged racist gestures and sounds towards players during the Manchester City and Manchester United derby,” the force said.
“A 41-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offense and remains in custody for questioning.”
Superintendent Chris Hill of the City of Manchester Division added: “I would like to thank the public for their ongoing support with this incident. Racism of any kind has no place in football or our society and I hope this arrest shows that we are taking this matter extremely seriously.
“We will continue to work with Manchester City and Manchester United football clubs on this incident and will investigate any other lines of inquiries.”
The man’s employers, infrastructure company Kier Group, say they have suspended the 41-year-old pending an investigation.
Earlier on Sunday, the Football Association confirmed they were also investigating the incident, and the equality and inclusion organization Kick It Out said they had been “inundated with reports of alleged racist abuse from a number of individuals” during the game.
Goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial helped Manchester United secure a 2-1 win over City but a pulsating match was overshadowed by the alleged incident off the field of play.
In a statement released shortly after full-time, City said: “The club operates a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any kind, and anyone found guilty of racial abuse will be banned from the club for life.”
Manchester United have said they are offering their players support, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Roy Keane and Gary Neville were among those who condemned the incident.
The incident comes on a weekend when Charlton’s Lyle Taylor also highlighted racist abuse he received online via private social media messaging.