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Lineker cleared of 'French accent' racial abuse directed at Wenger

June 12, 2012 - London

Former English footballer Gary Lineker was cleared of racially abusing Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger during a match in April.

Lineker had signed off a Match of the Day report by putting on a mock French accent, and waving his arms around.

"Au revoir," The Sun quoted Lineker, as signing off.

Furious viewers, including many Gunners fans, complained after the former England striker mimicked the Frenchman in April.

The TV host was later heavily criticised by Arsenal fans on Twitter, however, Ofcom revealed that they were taking no action.

"The complaints were that this was racially offensive. After careful assessment, Ofcom has decided not to pursue this. The incident did not raise substantive issues that could have breached our code relating to generally accepted standards," an Ofcom spokesperson said.

The incident followed after scenes in which the 62-year-old Gunners boss reacted angrily to a free-kick decision during a 1-1 draw against Stoke.

Lineker, 51, clarified his stance on the mockery.

"There was no xenophobic attempt at a French accent. I would simply never do that. I have been imitated for years and ridiculed about my ears and it really doesn't worry me. It was never intended to offend Arsene. I'm a huge admirer of his," he said.

"I have also done many similar things with players and managers over the years - some work, some don't. There was no widespread condemnation. Just a few AFC fans took exception, probably because it came from a former Spurs player," he added.


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