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Lip-reading footie fans spot racial abuse

Police probe Liverpool player

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Police are looking into an allegation that a Liverpool player racially abused a Manchester United team member during the two teams' clash at Old Trafford on 22 January, the BBC reports.

The tip-off came neither from the player allegedly at the receiving end of the insult, nor from a match official, but rather two deaf footie fans who independently reported the outrage to the authorities after lip-reading the incident on TV.

A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said: "Police in Trafford are investigating a complaint about a racist comment made during the Manchester United v Liverpool match at Old Trafford on 22 January 2006. It has been reported one of the players made an offensive comment in the closing minutes of the game. Investigations are ongoing."

According to UK tabloid The Sun, the player in question is Liverpool's Steve Finnan who allegedly - according to one of the witnesses - told Manchester United's Patrice Evra: "You black b*****d. Why don’t you f*** off?"

The other witness transcribed the abuse as: "You f****** piece of black s***. F*** off."

Liverpool FC has denied the allegation. A club spokesman asserted: "The player vehemently denies these allegations. He has not used any such language." Liverpool also said it had hired a professional lip reader to review the material and had failed to find any evidence to back up the supporters' claim. ®

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