Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has formally informed police that he was subject to racist abuse during his team's Premier League clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.
Video footage appeared to show someone among the Chelsea fans shout 'f***ing black c***' in Sterling's direction, and The Times report that the 24-year-old England international has since 'confirmed to police that he was racially abused'.
It is believed that Metropolitan Police officers investigating the incident travelled to Manchester to speak with Sterling, who is thought to have informed his own club's security staff immediately after the game had finished.
The moment of abuse happened when Sterling went to collect the ball from the side of the pitch in front of Chelsea supporters. His immediate reaction was a smile.
The player later posted a response on Instagram, admitting that he 'had to laugh' when he heard the abuse as he expects 'no better' and highlighted how the negative portrayal of black footballers by certain newspapers has helped fuel 'racism and aggressive behaviour'.
While Sterling himself has often been a favourite subject of the tabloid press, the examples he gave were two online articles from the Daily Mail about Manchester City youngsters Tosin Adarabioyo and Phil Foden each buying a house for their mothers, reported with noticeably different tones.
"...you have two young players both starting out their careers, both play for the same team, both have done the right thing, which is buy a new house for their mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are," Sterling said.
"But look how the newspaper get their message across for the young black player and then for the young white player. I think this is unacceptable, both innocent, have not done a thing wrong, but just the way it has been worded," he added.
View this post on Instagram
Good morning I just want to say , I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point to heard I will speak up. Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don’t expect no better. For example you have two young players starting out there careers both play for the same team, both have done the right thing. Which is buy a new house for there mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look how the news papers get there message across for the young black player and then for the young white payer. I think this in unacceptable both innocent have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded. This young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an aggressive behaviour, so for all the news papers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all i have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an give all players an equal chance.
"This young black kid is looked at in a bad light, which helps fuel racism and aggressive behaviours. So for all the newspapers that don't understand why people are racist in this day and age, all I have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity and give all players an equal chance."
The tirade directed at Sterling was the second example of an alleged racially motivated abuse in the Premier League in quick succession after a banana was thrown at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the stands during the north London derby the weekend before.