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Man charged over 'xenophobic comment' made toward Northern Ireland striker Josh Magennis

By Claire Williamson

A man has been arrested following "xenophobic comments" made towards Northern Ireland striker Josh Magennis.

The 25-year-old who also plays for Kilmarnock, made the allegation following their 1-0 defeat against Hearts at Tynecastle Stadium in Edinburgh on Saturday.

He is in his second season with the Ayrshire club and has scored 10 goals this term.

In a statement Hearts said the abusive remark related to the player from Northern Ireland being Irish.

It said: "To clarify, this allegation does not involve the player's colour, religion or sexuality."

Police in Scotland confirmed that a 48-year-old has been charged with offensive behaviour at football and an offence under the Threatening Communications Act.

He will appear in court at a later date and has been given special bail conditions not to enter within half a mile of Tynecastle Stadium, or any other ground where Hearts are playing, for two hours before the match until two hours after it has finished.

Constable Gavin Stupart from Wester Hailes Police Station said: “Since Kilmarnock FC reported this matter we have been carrying our extensive inquiries alongside Hearts and I would like to thank them for their assistance and support now that we have made an arrest.

“Offensive behaviour at football matches will not be tolerated and whenever we identify those responsible we will ensure they are brought before the court.

“We will also seek special bail conditions and banning orders to prevent offenders from attending further football matches.”

Hearts said in a statement on Saturday: ''The club can confirm that following this afternoon's game, a complaint was made to Police Scotland by a Kilmarnock player.

''The Kilmarnock player alleges that an abusive comment was made relating to his nationality by an individual seated within the home end at Tynecastle.

''The alleged abusive remark related to the player being Irish. The player is from Northern Ireland. To clarify, this allegation does not involve the player's colour, religion or sexuality.

''Senior figures from both clubs were present when the player made the complaint and discussed the matter fully thereafter.

''Heart of Midlothian FC has a number of players of different nationality playing in the current squad and is very proud of the international make-up of our team.

''We will fully support any police investigation into reports of abuse such as the one which has been reported today.''

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