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Sunday 19 November 2017

Everton FA Cup victory marred by allegations of racist chanting aimed at Arouna Kone

Arouna Kone celebrates scoring the first goal for Everton with Aaron Lennon and Tom Cleverley
Arouna Kone celebrates scoring the first goal for Everton with Aaron Lennon and Tom Cleverley

Jack De Menezes

Carlisle’s FA Cup fourth round clash with Everton was marred by allegations against a section of fans who were accused of racist chanting after Arouna Kone’s opening goal.

A sold-out Brunton Park saw Everton striker Kone score in just the second minute as the Premier League side took the lead. But while the 32-year-old Ivory Coast forward celebrated with his team-mate, a section of fans appeared to racially abuse the goalscorers.

Superintendent Justin Bibby of North Cumbria Police confirmed: “Nothing has been witnessed by Police or stewards but I have urged [the] person that tweeted to report so we can investigate.

Superintendent Bibby later added: “We are investigating a report and will be working with the club to ascertain what happened.”

The official Twitter account of Cumbria Police retweeted journalist Jon Colman, who is at the game and had said: “There has just been a very pointed Tannoy announcement warning that racist and abusive language won't be tolerated.”

Broadcasters BT Sport said that an incident had occurred after the goal, which saw Everton manager Roberto Martinez, Carlisle manager Keith Curle and fourth official Sebastian Stockbridge come together to discuss something that had happened in the crowd. Martinez was visibly displeased, although the game continued as expected.

It was added on BT Sport that an allegation of racial chanting had been reported to referee Lee Mason.

Roberto Martinez praised referee Lee Mason for taking swift action.

A public address system message announced any abuse would not be tolerated, and Cumbria Police issued the same message on Twitter, asking anyone with information to report it.

Mason spoke to Martinez about the abuse aimed at Everton players.

"I thought it was dealt with in a very good manner," Martinez told BT Sport.

After speaking to Carlisle boss Keith Curle, it was agreed there should be a warning to spectators.

"We agreed to make an announcement. I thought the referee was very good in how he dealt with that," Martinez said.

"It was just a reaction, something that we don't want to see. It was just a reaction to the celebration of the goal and that was it. It would be wrong to highlight such a moment in an enjoyable footballing festivity."

When contacted by the Independent, Carlisle said they were unaware of any incident other than a couple of smoke bombs that had not caused any crowd trouble.

Earlier this month, Everton raised over £8,000 for Carlisle to help aid their clean-up of Brunton Park after it was severely damaged during Storm Desmond.

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