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English Premier League

Lukaku inquiry launched

Sunderland have confirmed they will help police investigate incidents of racism following the release of a photograph in which a fan appears to be making monkey gestures towards West Bromich Albion striker Romelu Lukaku.

• Long praises Lukaku attitude

A club spokesperson said: "SAFC operates a policy of zero tolerance towards racism and anti-social behavior of any kind and naturally we will cooperate with the police in fully investigating any such incidents."

Northumbria Police are already looking into the incident that took place after Lukaku scored his side's third goal in a 4-2 victory on Saturday.

"Police are carrying out inquiries after a report of racist abuse at the Sunderland v West Brom match on Saturday. The report was received at 10.10pm on Saturday, November 24," a police spokesman said.

West Brom manager Steve Clarke threw his support behind his player and called for action to be taken.

"There should be no place in the game, or in any walk of life, for some of the things that have transpired within stadiums over the weekend," Clarke said.

"The authorities are now looking into the incident at Sunderland and Romelu has our full support. I am sure the authorities will conduct a thorough inquiry and take the appropriate action."

Former Sunderland defender Gary Bennett, who currently works with 'Show Racism the Red Card' believing it is vital that fans take responsibility for instances of racism.

"You've got one individual and you don't want it to spoil it for the rest and have all Sunderland fans labelled like that." Bennett said.

"When we talk about responsibility and reporting issues, I think it's not just about the supporters near him but right around the ground. If they hear any form of racism or anything, it's important that they do report it to the football club.

"We (show racism the red card) have just done a club event at Sunderland Football Club and they're very active and involved, and from the club's point of view they're taking a zero tolerance policy."