Everton ban the Sun after Ross Barkley article

Ross Barkley has been at Everton since 2005

Everton have banned the Sun “from all areas of its operation” after the newspaper published “appalling and indefensible” allegations about Ross Barkley and the people of Liverpool.

The article, written by columnist Kelvin MacKenzie, appeared on Friday.

MacKenzie was suspended after comparing the midfielder, whose grandfather was born in Nigeria, to a “gorilla”.

He also wrote that men with similar “pay packets” to Barkley in Liverpool were “drug dealers”.

Everton said in a statement: “The newspaper has to know that any attack on this City, either against a much respected community or individual, is not acceptable.”

Merseyside Police are investigating whether MacKenzie’s comments constitute a “racial hate crime”.

The Sun apologised “for the offence caused” and added that it was “unaware of Barkley’s heritage”.

In a statement of his own, MacKenzie reiterated the latter sentiment, adding that it was “beyond parody” to describe the column as “racist”.

In February, Liverpool banned Sun journalists from its grounds over the newspaper’s coverage of the Hillsborough disaster.

Saturday, 15 April, marks the 28th anniversary of the disaster.

Former Everton midfielder Leon Osman told the BBC’s Football Focus: “[The ban] is justified. Liverpool in general has had a long-term problem with the Sun, and this column just antagonises the situation further.”

‘The people’s club have listened to the people’

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson had led calls for Everton to ban the newspaper and he spoke with Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright on Saturday.

“Today of all days it’s good news, ” Anderson told BBC Sport. “We at Everton have always been proud of the fact that we have supported Liverpool FC and their fans through this.

“Everton prides itself on being called the people’s club, they have listened to the people and I am delighted with how they have reacted. All credit to Bill Kenwright, he spoke to me this morning and understood that people had strong feelings on it.”

Anderson had called for fans to protest