Search for Limerick spectator alleged to have thrown banana on to pitch

Tue, Aug 7, 2012, 01:00

GARDAÍ ARE trying to identify a spectator alleged to have thrown a banana on to the pitch in an alleged racist incident at a match in Thomond Park, Limerick.

Manchester City defender Gaël Clichy mentioned the incident on Twitter after Sunday’s friendly match, which gave his club a 4-0 victory against Limerick FC.

“How sad to see bananas thrown on the pitch tonight . . . Knowing people around the world need food. #nowordsforthis,” the French international player said.

Gardaí said no complaint had been made to them about the incident.

“We’ve secured CCTV footage but we don’t have any complaint. Without a complaint there is no investigation,” Chief Supt David Sheahan of Limerick’s Henry Street Garda station said yesterday.

However, sources said gardaí were confident of identifying the person.

The banana is said to have been flung from a tiered standing area about 15m to the right of where the Manchester City team and management were sitting during the match.

Supt Sheahan said he had “heard rumours that vile, racist language was also directed at a number of Manchester City players”, but that there was, as yet, “no evidence” to back up these claims.

Limerick FC and Thomond Park officials met local gardaí yesterday “to continue attempts to identify a person that threw an offensive object on to the playing field”, a statement released on behalf of the club and stadium said.

CCTV footage was being analysed and “when the offending party is identified, appropriate action will be taken”, the statement said.

It added that the incident was “completely unacceptable and is fully condemned by Limerick FC and Thomond Park . . . It is deeply upsetting that the actions of one individual have soured the experience for all those in attendance.”

It is understood Manchester City made no formal complaint over the incident.

Sport Against Racism in Ireland described the incident as “appalling”. Its international officer, Ken McCue, was “not surprised” as there had been a “sharp increase” in racist incidents. He described this was a “wake-up call”.

Trying to get a prosecution was “very difficult” because the Incitement to Hatred Act was “very weak”, he said.

The incident was widely reported outside Ireland yesterday.

More than 20,000 people watched the game at Thomond Park, and Manchester City TV showed the game live, as did Setanta Sports and Saudi Arabian television.