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Cops quiz Blackburn striker Diouf over Everton ball-boy's racial abuse claim

21 Sep 2009 13:22:50

Cops quiz Blackburn striker Diouf over Everton ball-boy's racial abuse claim

El-Hadji Diouf was interviewed by police over accusations of racist abuse towards a ball-boy at Goodison Park. Blackburn’s controversial former Liverpool forward was summoned from the dressing room, minutes after the final whistle, and quizzed over a first-half incident that caused a furore among Everton followers. Diouf, when the ball was rolled past him as he went to retrieve it for a throw-in near the corner at the Gwladys Street end, is alleged to have said: ‘F*** off, white boy.’ The youngster, thought to be in his early teens, was so upset that he complained to Everton officials, who alerted police. Diouf, who was booked for a foul in the second half as he became increasingly frustrated with his side’s shortcomings, shouted and swore at team-mates as he headed down the tunnel at the end. He was then asked about his clash with the ball-boy by senior police officers, who were still deciding last night whether to take the matter further. They issued a statement: ‘Merseyside police are investigating an allegation of a 28-year-old man using racist language at the Everton match today. Enquiries are under way.’ The FA are waiting to hear from the referee Lee Mason and will talk to the police before deciding whether to act. 'We are aware of the incident and are awaiting reports from the match official,' said an FA spokesman. 'We will also be speaking with the police to establish what their inquiries are in the matter.' The threat of action against Diouf added to Blackburn’s worries after they folded to an Everton side who built decisively on the morale-boost of Thursday night’s crushing 4-0 Europa League win over AEK Athens. David Moyes would doubtless have preferred it to have started more promptly, but Everton’s season is finally up and running after Louis Saha continued his personal crusade against Blackburn. Perennial slow starters, Everton began the day in the bottom three but were never in danger of ending it that way after a combination of Steven Pienaar’s dazzling footwork and Saha’s sharp finishing left hapless Blackburn on the receiving end of a stern rebuke from unhappy manager Sam Allardyce. Saha’s double took his overall tally against Blackburn to 10 and further underlined his renaissance under Moyes since arriving at Goodison with an unwanted reputation for succumbing to injury all too readily. Diouf had headed a golden opportunity against the bar when Saha reinforced his standing as one of the game’s most adept finishers, steering a Leighton Baines free-kick inside the near post to give Everton a 22nd-minute lead. The Everton striker made it six for the season in the 54th-minute with a classic header from Marouane Fellaini’s right-wing cross, and there was no way back for Blackburn four minutes later when a Baines corner struck Ryan Nelsen on the chest and fell for stand-in skipper Joseph Yobo to force home from close range. It only remained for Pienaar to dip into his repertoire of tricks and torment Blackburn with a series of feints and turns that opened up a string of shooting opportunities to bring the best out of discarded England goalkeeper Paul Robinson. There was no containing Allardyce’s fury and he thought nothing of singling out Diouf and Keith Andrews, who had a point-blank shot saved by Tim Howard in the second half. Allardyce said: ‘We had two full-blown opportunities, not half-chances. It’s not unlucky when you head against the bar from two yards. 'It’s poor finishing, pure and simple. Neither is it down to bad luck when you hit the keeper from the same range. Those should have gone in, and it might have made a difference. ‘There were too many out there not playing at their best, and it shouldn’t be too difficult now for some of the fringe players to get a place in the team for the Carling Cup-tie with Nottingham Forest. ‘A few have put their positions in jeopardy with that performance. I don’t like saying it, but it’s a fact.’ Moyes saluted Saha and Pienaar, saying: ‘We have worked Louis as hard as he has ever been worked and played him as often as possible and we are reaping the benefits. People said he was injury-prone when he arrived here, and he is determined to prove them wrong. ‘We needed someone to step forward and provide that spark in Mikel Arteta’s absence and Steven is certainly doing that.’


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