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Lancashire police have launched a criminal investigation into an allegation from Birmingham striker Dwight Yorke’s that he was racially abused at during Birmingham’s visit to Blackburn Rovers.

Police will study reports from Blackburn safety officers on Monday and examine CCTV and video footage of the incident.

The Football Association has launched its own inquiry into Yorke’s allegations.

Both clubs are also to conduct their own investigations into the claims.

A Blackburn statement read: “We will give the Police – who now intend to interview all relevant parties – our full co-operation during the length of that investigation.

“We would like to stress that this was an isolated incident and that we deeply regret any embarrassment caused to Dwight Yorke and Birmingham City Football Club.

“We want to be quite clear that racism will not be tolerated at Ewood Park.”

The Football Association and the Premier League issued a joint statement about the incident at Blackburn.

The statement read: “The FA and the Premier League welcome the swift action taken by Blackburn Rovers in launching an investigation.

“We fully support Blackburn Rovers’ entirely appropriate reaction to this incident and their involvement of the Lancashire Police who will ensure that this matter is dealt with as the law demands.

“The FA, the Premier League and The Football League condemn racism in all its forms and are committed to stamping out any form of racist behaviour from football.

“This isolated incident is a reminder of the need for continued vigilance.”

Blackburn have confirmed one fan had been ejected for making a gesture at Yorke.

Birmingham boss Steve Bruce said: “They racially abused him. Dwight is bitterly upset and angry.

“Apparently it is monkey taunts and that is sick. It’s all right him getting a bit of stick but when it comes to what we’ve just seen in midweek, everybody is sickened by it.”

Meanwhile, Birmingham City plc chairman David Sullivan claims the Yorke alllegations been blown out of all proportion.

“I would stress I am speaking as an individual and these are not necessarily the views of the club,” he told Sky Sports News.

“To me, it’s all been blown out of all proportion.

“I heard absolutely nothing. If it’s three out of 22,000 who make racist comments then it’s not very nice.

“I think you have to pick up on it and ban those people from the ground but I just can’t believe, with all that is going on in the world, that it’s that big a deal.

“If someone had made a racist comment to me and it was three out of 22,000, I would say it’s not very nice, I wish they hadn’t made it, but it’s not the crime of the century.

“It’s inexcusable but it’s not the crime of the decade. I realise it’s not a politically correct thing to say but it’s my opinion. We should concentrate on football and anyone who makes racist comments should be thrown out.

“It was only when he was warming up. He could have run up the other end of the ground. We want to stamp it out and we want to ban it from our ground [too] but I don’t think we’ll ever see it in any quantity in England again.

“I cannot believe this has been blown out of all proportion overnight.

“If you said to me do you want someone to punch you in the face or make a racial comment, I’d take the racial comment.

“Most of the comments were ‘you lazy b******’ not a racial comment but lazy, lazy, lazy was the bulk of the chanting. I think they felt they were not getting value for money from someone on £30,000 a week or whatever. I’ve always thought it better to chant in a positive way than a negative way. We’ve had to battle with our fans when all they want to is make anti-Aston Villa chants.

“I think it’s a very, very small problem that has been blown out of all proportion. It’s a big problem in society and a lot more needs to be done but, in football, it’s a small problem.

“I would criticise any racism in the game but I don’t think there is very much. I go to football week in, week out and see virtually no racist abuse at games.”

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