Everton deny El Hadji Diouf's banana abuse claims and demand apology
25 September 2009 09:42
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Diouf was accused of racially abusing a ball boy during Blackburn's 3-0 defeat against Everton on Sunday. But the Blackburn striker countered those claims by saying he himself had suffered racist abuse from the Everton crowd, whom, he alleges, threw bananas at him.
"As a club, we find it bizarre that an experienced, senior international footballer should make such an accusation when there is not a shred of evidence to back it up. It is groundless. There is no truth in it whatsoever," said Everton director of communications Ian Ross.
"There is simply enormous anger inside and outside the club about his comments. He alleged, at the end of the game, that he was showered with bananas, yet a police officer and Everton stadium staff found not a single one after scouring the relevant area of seating and pitch immediately afterwards.
"It was a wholly baseless allegation that was quite frankly disgusting, and we ask him to retract it with immediate effect and apologise to Everton supporters.
"We can only take what he said as a thinly veiled accusation of racism. We are not accusing him of racist behaviour but are concerned about what he said and feel it needs clarification and a retraction. In the past, throwing bananas has been construed as racist conduct, hence our concern.
"I can only think Mr Diouf must be rather naïve if he thinks he can get away with an accusation like that in an age when every square metre of a Premier League pitch is covered by one camera or another. Whatever his motive, it was wrong, and he should try to draw a line under it by saying sorry."