Downing arrest rocks Liverpool with winger hit by assault allegation
Liverpool's week from hell hit a new low on Sunday when England winger Stewart Downing was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his ex-girlfriend.
Downing, 27, was taken into custody after an early-morning fracas outside the Cross Keys club and pub in Yarm, south of Middlesbrough.
It is believed he was asked to leave after a row erupted inside the venue and carried on outside, where police intervened.
Target: Stewart Downing scored his first goal for Liverpool against Oldham, but was arrested shortly after
A Cleveland Police spokesman said:
‘Police were called to an incident at a pub on Yarm High Street. A
27-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault and a
32-year-old woman has also been arrested on suspicion of assault.’
The pair were later released on police bail pending further inquiries.
The last thing Liverpool needed after
the storm that engulfed them in the wake of the Luis Suarez affair and
the alleged racial abuse of Oldham midfielder Tom Adeyemi on Friday
night was an off-field incident surrounding one of their high-profile
Liverpool would not comment on the
matter on Sunday but Downing’s place in the squad for the biggest game
of their season so far – the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final
at Manchester City on Wednesday – must now surely be called into
Downing had returned home to his
native Middlesbrough on Saturday after scoring in the 5-1 FA Cup
third-round win over Oldham – his first goal since joining Liverpool for
20million from Aston Villa in the summer.
In the beginning: Midfielder Downing began his career at Middlesbrough
That game was scarred by the abuse Adeyemi suffered 10 minutes from full time.
Merseyside Police have released a
20-year-old man from Aintree on bail after arresting him in connection
with the incident on Saturday night.
Eye-witnesses said they heard Adeyemi, 20, being abused about the colour of his skin by a supporter in a section of the Kop.
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor
said: ‘We can confirm that he was the victim of racist abuse towards the
end of the Liverpool versus Oldham FA Cup tie last Friday evening.
‘This abuse came from a spectator
sitting in the Kop section of the ground. Tom has given a full witness
statement to the Merseyside police regarding the incident and will
continue to assist the police fully in their inquiries.’
Race storm: Liverpool have apologised to Tom Adeyemi over the alleged racist abuse he suffered at Anfield
Liverpool have vowed to give a
lifetime ban to anyone found guilty of racially abusing Adeyemi, while
the Football Association will contact the club for a report on the
matter. Last night, Liverpool issued an apology to Adeyemi.
A statement from the club read:
‘Whatever the outcome of what is now a police investigation, all of us
are deeply sorry for what happened on Friday night and our players and
our club pass on our sincere regrets to Tom Adeyemi for the upset and
distress he suffered as a result of the matter at hand.
‘Regarding the incident that occurred
on Friday evening, we have given Merseyside police every possible
assistance we can and will continue to provide the necessary support to
their investigation in order to ensure this particular incident is
dealt with properly.
‘We will continue to take the strongest possible action(s) against unacceptable behaviour during our matches.’