Football

Alli could face action over middle-finger gesture

England midfielder claims he was 'joking' with teammate Walker but Fifa looking into incident

England were left fearing disciplinary action against Dele Alli after the midfielder was caught on camera making an obscene gesture during his side's World Cup Group F qualifier against Slovakia yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Tottenham Hotspur player raised his middle finger during the 77th minute of the game at Wembley, which England won 2-1, and there were claims it was directed at French referee Clement Turpin.

Alli claimed after the match that he was having "a joke" with teammate Kyle Walker.

"Just to clarify, the gesture tonight was a joke between me and my good friend Kyle Walker!" Alli wrote on Twitter.

"Apologies for any offence caused! Great win 2nite."

Despite his explanation, Alli could still find himself in hot water with Fifa if the sport's governing body decides to take action against him for swearing after it was originally suggested he had aimed the gesture at referee Turpin.

"Please note that we are gathering evidence and cannot comment further at this stage," a Fifa spokesman told Press Association Sport when asked if they were looking into the incident.

Pictures and video footage of Alli's gesture were widely shared on social media, but manager Gareth Southgate played down the incident.

"I've not seen it, but I've been made aware of it," Southgate said.

"Kyle and Dele were mucking about and Dele's made a gesture towards Kyle. I don't know what the angle picked up by the camera is, so I don't know if that is clear (who it was aimed at).

STRANGE WAY OF COMMUNICATING

"The pair of them have a strange way of communicating! But that's what they've said when it's been raised."

Alli, 21, has had a number of run-ins with the football authorities and has faced calls to curb his fiery temperament.

He missed the Premier League title run-in in 2015-16 after punching West Brom's Claudio Yacob and was sent off for a dangerous foul on Gent's Brecht Dejaegere during a Europa League game last February.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart came to Alli's defence, saying: "The world is watching and Dele appreciates that.

"He is a young expressive guy who is trying to get to the peak of his game and sometimes he is going to do things that not everyone is going to agree with.

"I think we all know what has gone on - no one has got hurt from it, let's be honest.

"Luckily and hopefully, it was after 9pm. Kids are watching, Dele appreciates that. I'm sure it will be dealt with in the right way." - WIRE SERVICES

OTHER GROUP F RESULTS

  • Scotland 2 Malta 0
  • Slovenia 4 Lithuania 0
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