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,” the club said in a statement.

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.

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

Source: BBC