Kolarov in racial abuse probe


Northumbria police have asked for witnesses to an alleged incident of racial abuse involving Aleksandar Kolarov and two spectators at St James’ Park on Saturday to come forward.

Manchester City’s Serbian defender started his side’s 3-1 win against Newcastle United as a substitute and became embroiled in verbal exchanges with two men waving an Albanian flag who positioned themselves close to the touchline when he warmed up.

Such verbal sparring is believed to have continued for around 10 minutes and perhaps reflects the often uneasy relationships and enduring tensions between Serbs and Albanians which erupted during the Kosovo conflict. One of the fans with the flag is understood to have complained about Kolarov to stewards who, in turn, reported the incident to the police, alleging “racist language” had been used. When such complaints are made, police are duty-bound to investigate.

Officers duly spoke to the fan who made the complaint at half-time and also had a brief word after the final whistle with Kolarov, who came on as a substitute before being withdrawn injured.

With the player needing treatment from City’s medical team and the squad in a hurry to catch their return flight to Manchester, time was at a premium and it was agreed that Kolarov will speak again to the police at some point later this week. City say that the player is happy to co-operate fully with their inquires.

When Kolarov and the police eventually reconvene it is possible witnesses may have emerged but the language barrier is likely to complicate further inquiries.

Guardian Service

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