Middlesbrough have released a statement on the the club’s website following Saturday’s incident involving midfielder George Boateng.
Boateng and Leeds’ Nick Barmby were involved in a heated exchange, and the ‘Boro midfielder was quoted afterwards as saying that his angry reaction had been caused by racist abuse aimed at him by Barmby.
Responding to the quotes attributedto Boateng, Leeds called a press conference in defence of Barmby, who is currently nursing cuts on his face allegedly caused by the Dutch midfielder when the pair clashed in the tunne after the game.
However Middlesbrough’s statement claims that Barmby never abused Boateng racially.
“Following weekend press reports, Monday’s Leeds United press conference and intense media speculation, George Boateng wishes to clarify a number of matters which have been inaccurately reported and debated in the media,” the statement read. The club admit a clash, but now have now retracted Boateng’s racism claims.
“First of all, while there was clearly an altercation between George and Nick Barmby at the end of Saturday’s game and words were exchanged in the heat of the moment, George wishes to make clear that he has never accused Nick of making racist remarks as he knows this to be untrue,” it continued.
“Secondly, George wants to make clear that he wanted to put their altercation behind them after the game and made attempts to see Nick to do so.
“Leeds United felt the matter was closed and that no meeting was necessary.”
But the club are not denying that Barmby upset Boateng sufficiently to cause an angry reaction.
“However, George was upset that some very derogatory comments were made to him at the end of the game. His reaction was a result of those remarks that were made to him,” the statement added.
The English FA have revealed they plan to hold a full-scale investigation into the incident.
“The football club and all concerned will, of course, be co-operating fully in the investigation. However, pending the investigation, it would be inappropriate for George or MiddlesbroughFC to make any further comment at this time,” the statement concluded.