FA studies evidence, says it is an Alli ally

England's Dele Alli in action during the 2-1 win in their World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on Monday. The Football Association believes it can prove that Alli's one-finger salute was not directed at the referee.
England's Dele Alli in action during the 2-1 win in their World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on Monday. The Football Association believes it can prove that Alli's one-finger salute was not directed at the referee.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LONDON • The Football Association (FA) believes it can prove Dele Alli was not directing a rude one-finger salute at the referee during Monday's World Cup qualifying victory over Slovakia and will support the midfielder if contacted by Fifa about the incident.

Alli was caught on camera immediately after the French official, Clement Turpin, had waved away his appeals for a free kick 13 minutes from time in the 2-1 win at Wembley.

The Tottenham midfielder subsequently told his England manager, Gareth Southgate, that the gesture had been made towards his former club-mate, Kyle Walker, and reiterated that explanation for his actions on Twitter late on Monday night.

He apologised "for any offence caused", with Walker also suggesting on social media that he had seen the funny side of the incident.

One long-distance camera angle of the incident appears to support Alli's version of events.

However, Fifa indicated on Tuesday that it was "gathering evidence" before deciding whether or not to launch an investigation.

The FA has already unearthed a closer camera shot, which has not been made public, which would back up Alli's explanation and, if requested, will make it available to world football's governing body in an attempt to prevent Alli being sanctioned.

However, there is the possibility Fifa could still charge the 21-year-old with acting against the spirit of the game, an offence which would most likely carry a fine or even a short suspension.

Southgate did not comment much on the incident but said that it was just a "strange way of communicating" between Alli and Walker.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2017, with the headline 'FA studies evidence, says it is an Alli ally'. Print Edition | Subscribe