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Last Updated: Monday, 4 October, 2004, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Ofcom raps football commentator
Alan Green
The BBC said Green made the remark "in the heat of a live broadcast"
Football commentator Alan Green has been criticised by media watchdog Ofcom for suggesting that a black player had a poor grasp of the English language.

Ofcom upheld a complaint about BBC Radio Five Live's coverage of a Manchester United v Arsenal match.

Green suggested that, in a dispute with the referee during the 28 March match, the player said "me no cheat".

"The suggestion that a black player was incapable of speaking grammatical English was inappropriate," Ofcom said.

'Irreverent banter'

"We believe that the experienced presenter should have been more alert to the implications of his comment."

Ofcom said the incident was particularly serious "given the drive to eradicate racist attitudes in football".

The BBC said Green's "ill-judged" remark about footballer Eric Djemba-Djemba was made "in the heat of a live broadcast and was meant as irreverent banter". It described the commentator as "a campaigning anti-racist".

"The controller of the network had reiterated to him the importance of the careful use of language, particularly in a live commentary situation," the BBC said.

'Particular care'

Ofcom also upheld three complaints against ITV1 children's programme My Parents Are Aliens.

Viewers complained about the use of the word "retard", and the fact that someone was described as having "all the charisma of a tree stump with special needs".

"Particular care needs to be taken when using expressions that can be seen as referring to mental illness," Ofcom said.

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