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Liverpool fan responsible for ‘offensive’ Divock Origi banner identified

Reds officials condemned the banner which they said “perpetuated a racist stereotype”.

A supporter who displayed an offensive banner about Divock Origi, pictured, has been identified (Martin Rickett/PA)
A supporter who displayed an offensive banner about Divock Origi, pictured, has been identified (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Carl Markham and Jamie Gardner, PA

A supporter responsible for displaying an “offensive” banner about Liverpool striker Divock Origi during the Champions League match against Genk has been identified, Merseyside Police have said.

Reds officials liaised with police to have the banner, which they said “perpetuated a racist stereotype”, removed as soon as they became aware of it.

Merseyside Police released a statement on Thursday afternoon which read: “We can confirm Merseyside Police officers assisting local police at the Genk v Liverpool fixture on Wednesday night (October 23) removed a banner in the Liverpool supporters’ section.

Liverpool Football Club condemns the offensive banner displayed in our section of the ground, prior to kick-off. Liverpool statement

“We worked with Liverpool FC and the local authorities to identify the person responsible, and the local police in Belgium are now conducting an investigation.”

UEFA will await the reports of the match referee and delegate before deciding whether to open a disciplinary investigation in relation to the matter.

Liverpool were quick to condemn the banner in a statement released on Wednesday night.

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Liverpool beat Genk 4-1 on Wednesday night (Francisco Seco/AP)

“Liverpool Football Club condemns the offensive banner displayed in our section of the ground, prior to kick-off,” it read.

“To be clear, the image used perpetuated a racist stereotype. This is completely unacceptable.

“We acted swiftly to have the banner removed and we are now working with the local authorities and stadium team in Genk to identify those responsible.

“Any subsequent action will be taken in keeping with our sanctions process.”

Supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly welcomed the swift action taken by the club.

A statement read: “Spirit of Shankly oppose all forms of racism. The club took swift action in the removal of the offensive banner that perpetuates racial stereotyping.

“Football isn’t separate from society, it is part of it and we all have a responsibility in ensuring people understand there is no room for racism.

“Simply banning people is not the answer. Education and reaffirming there is no place for discrimination in society has to form part of the solution.”

PA understands Liverpool’s sanctions panel will meet on Friday to make an interim decision now the supporter responsible for the banner has been identified.

The most severe sanction which could be imposed at that meeting would be a temporary ban to run while a full investigation is carried out.

Once the club’s enquiries – independent to any police investigation – have been completed, the supporter will then be invited in to speak to the panel and explain their side of the issue.

Liverpool will then make a decision on a final punishment, which could include a full stadium ban, a ban and education, education on its own or other minor sanctions.

PA

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