The Football Association is seeking to interview Tim Howard as it investigates allegations that the Newcastle midfielder Emre Belozoglu racially abused the Everton goalkeeper and his black team-mates during last Saturday's Premiership game at Goodison Park.
Howard, along with the Everton centre-halves Joleon Lescott and Joseph Yobo, reacted furiously with Emre in the fracas which erupted following the award - the penalty was eventually missed by Obafemi Martins - and, while Yobo later shook his opponent's hand, Lescott and Howard refused to accept an apology. It is understood that discontent spilled over into the tunnel as the teams departed at the interval, with Everton's players later informed by the club's staff not to talk about the incident post-match.
"We have received the referee's report and he mentions that an allegation was made but he did not hear anything himself," confirmed an FA spokesman. "We will be writing to Everton to request any further information with which they can provide us. If we receive any evidence from players or supporters we will treat it very seriously."
There were suggestions after the game that some Everton fans seated in the Gwladys Street stand had heard Emre's comments and would be writing to the FA. No complaints were made to Merseyside police at the time, with the FA set to talk to Howard to establish whether there is any substance to the claim. "The FA have spoken to the club and we will be discussing the matter with them in the next few days," said an Everton spokesman.