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Fifa opens proceedings against Dele Alli over middle finger gesture

TV pictures show the England player making the gesture in a World Cup qualifier on Monday night.

England midfielder Dele Alli
England midfielder Dele Alli

ENGLAND’S DELE ALLI will face disciplinary proceedings from Fifa in relation to a gesture he made during the World Cup qualifying victory over Slovakia at Wembley on Monday.

Gareth Southgate’s side closed to within two points of a place at Russia 2018 with a 2-1 comeback win, thanks to goals from Eric Dier and Marcus Rashford.

In the 77th minute of the match, Alli failed to earn a free-kick after going down as a result of a challenge from Slovakia defender Martin Skrtel.

Television pictures showed the 21-year-old raising his middle finger after the incident, with referee Clement Turpin initially thought to be the object of his frustration.

However, Alli later claimed the gesture was aimed towards England right-back and former Tottenham team-mate Kyle Walker.

A Fifa spokesperson said: “We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened following this incident. Please understand we cannot comment further at this stage.”

BBC Sport reports that the case is unlikely to be heard until late September at the earliest.

Alli tweeted after the match to clarify the incident was “a joke between me and my good friend Kyle Walker” and Southgate confirmed his player had told him a similar story.

“Kyle and Dele were mucking about, and Dele’s made a gesture towards Kyle,” he said.

“I don’t know what the angle picked up by the camera is, so I don’t know if that is clear. The pair of them have a strange way of communicating but that’s what they’ve said when it’s been raised.”

Speaking ahead of Tottenham’s trip to Everton this weekend, manager Mauricio Pochettino suggested Fifa should not waste too much time dealing with Alli’s gesture.

“There’s a lot of things worse than this situation,” he said. “It’s true it’s not a fantastic gesture but it’s not a big issue. I don’t think it’ll be a big issue with Fifa or with us.

“Maybe the headlines are because it’s Dele and something happens. And he’s English. But I think it’s not a big issue. For me, it’s about moving on and not creating important things about this. He was joking.”

Additional reporting by Sinéad Farrell. 

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