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Fifa investigate Alli hand gesture during England game

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Dele Alli is one of England's brightest footballing prospects. Reuters/Darren Staples

World football's governing body Fifa launched disciplinary proceedings against the England midfielder Dele Alli on Friday after the player was caught making an obscene gesture during his country's match against Slovakia on 4 September.

 


Alli stuck his middle finger up during the World Cup qualifier. The 21-year-old Tottenham Hotspur midfielder said after the game the gesture had been directed at England teammate Kyle Walker as a joke.

But a Fifa spokesman said the incident would be investigated.

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

"Kyle and Dele were mucking about and Dele's made a gesture towards Kyle," Southgate told reporters at Wembley. The pair of them have a strange way of communicating! But that's what they've said when it's been raised."

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino played down the ramifications of the gesture during a press conference ahead of his side's match against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.

"It's true it's not a fantastic gesture but it's not a big issue," said Pochettino. "It was a joke in a moment with his teammate. I don't think it'll be a big issue with Fifa or with us."

Alli is one of the England's most talented stars having broken into the Spurs side two seasons ago. But since his rise to star status at one of the Premier League's top clubs, he has fallen foul of the football authorities.

At the end of the 2016 season, he was banned for three games for violent conduct following his clash with West Brom midfielder Claudio Yacob. In February 2017, he was sent off for a dangerous foul on Gent's Brecht Dejaegere during a Europa League game.

On Saturday, Spurs, last year's runners-up to Chelsea, travel to Merseyside seeking their second win of the season. Just before the break for World Cup qualifiers, Pochettino's men drew 1-1 at home with Burnley. A week earlier they lost 2-1 to Chelsea.