Manchester United’s lawyers will tomorrow ask the club’s players to provide their accounts of the clashes with Chelsea employees at the end of Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge.
Acording to a report in today’s Guardian Patrice Evra suffered racial abuse, with one source claiming Evra had been called a “fucking immigrant”.
United players on the scene believe they heard Evra being sworn at and racially abused. It is understood that Chelsea will deny this and contend that there was no racial dimension to the incident.
United have asked their solicitor, Maurice Watkins, to start work on an official report into the incident, and he will interview Evra and several others, including Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Gerard Piqué, Park Ji-sung and Tevez, who were at the scene.
“We’re filing a report,” said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. “It will be sent to the FA and we’re very happy with that. We hope the FA will investigate it.”
Chelsea asked United to put out a joint statement on Sunday night but the request was denied. Instead United are determined to see the matter investigated by the Premier League.
The trouble occurred after Chelsea’s groundstaff asked the players to move because they wanted to cut the grass.
A United player is understood to have sworn in response to the request and the situation deteriorated from there. In the next few minutes there were then two separate clashes, involving up to 30 people. Photographs show a groundsman, Sam Bethell, with his fist raised and apparently trying to punch Evra.
Chelsea claim the trouble was begun by United’s players but Ferguson expressed his belief that the Chelsea ground staff had provoked the incident.
“There’s one question I want to put,” he said. “Why were the lawnmowers going after the game to cut the grass? Were they not supposed to do it before the game?”
“I trust these players and I am happy for these players to represent Manchester United in any shape or form against any opposition. I am a lucky manager to have such good players. Their attitude and character is absolutely fantastic. I have pride in them representing me and the club.”