Cameras caught Manchester City supporters throwing objects toward and directing racist abuse at Manchester United players during Saturday's Manchester Derby.
Manchester United midfielder Fred delayed taking a corner kick late in Saturday's 2-1 win over Manchester City while City supporters threw lighters and bottles, among other items, at the Brazilian. Video of the incident showed a fan appearing to make a monkey gesture in the direction of Fred and United teammate Jesse Lingard, both of whom are black.
#LigaPremierTD: ¡Fans del @ManCity lanzan objetos a Fred! ❌— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) December 7, 2019
✋🏻Jugadores del City se acercan a las gradas para calmarlos. ¡Los ánimos a tope en el Derbi de Manchester! 😕🔥🔥#ManCity 0-2 #ManCity pic.twitter.com/CXUqW8ulZc
Fred told ESPN Brazil after the match that the same fan "even threw a lighter and it hit me."
"Unfortunately, we are still in a backward society," Fred told ESPN Brazil. "[It is a shame] we still have to live with that in 2019. On the field, I didn't see anything. I saw it only in the locker room afterwards."
Manchester City issued a statement after the match, promising lifetime bans for any fans found guilty of racial abuse.
"Manchester City FC are aware of a video circulating on social media which appears to show a supporter making racial gestures during the second half of the match against Manchester United this evening," the club said in a statement. "Officials from the Club are working with Greater Manchester Police in order to help them identify any individuals concerned and assist with their [inquiries].
"The Club are also working with GMP regarding an instance of objects being thrown onto the field of play. The Club operates a zero tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any kind, and anyone found guilty of racial abuse will be banned from the club for life."
Kick It Out, an organization focused on fighting "discrimination, inequality and exclusion" in English soccer, issued a statement offering support to United and City.
We have been inundated with reports of alleged racist abuse from a number of individuals during this evenings Manchester Derby.— Kick It Out (@kickitout) December 7, 2019
We will be contacting both clubs to offer our support and hope swift action is taken to identify the offenders.
Racism has long been in a problem in soccer, and Kick It Out found last year that reports of racial discrimination at professional and grassroots levels rose 43 percent. Elsewhere in the country Saturday, a League Two match was temporarily stopped after a Forest Green Rovers supporter racially abused a player for Scunthorpe United.