Newcastle's Emre insists: 'I'm no racist'

February 5, 2007

Newcastle midfielder Emre insists he is not a racist and claims cultural differences have led to the storm over his alleged abuse of Everton players.

The 26-year-old Turkey international is set for a personal hearing at the Football Association after denying a charge of using racially-aggravated language in his side's 3-0 defeat at Goodison Park on December 30.

Emre is alleged to have racially insulted Toffees goalkeeper Tim Howard and defenders Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott.

But he says his religion - he is a Muslim - forbids such behaviour and insists his friendship with Magpies team-mate Obafemi Martins proves he is not racist.

Emre told the Daily Mirror: 'I'm not racist. Because of my religion, I'm against racism. I gave my defence to the federation about this case, but I don't know whether I will get a ban.

'My best friend is Obafemi. He's also my room-mate, so how can anyone call me a racist? It's normal to say words like `black' or `negro' in Turkey but, when you say this in England, it's misunderstood.'

Emre claims Newcastle have said they will stand by him, even if he is found guilty, saying: 'Newcastle offered me a contract, even if I get a ban.

'I want to stay but, if I feel that everything is against me, I may have to think about my situation in England. I have had great support from the Prime Minister of Turkey.'