LONDON – Southampton have promised to ban supporters involved in mocking the death of Emiliano Sala by making aeroplane gestures during their match at home to Cardiff City on Saturday.
The Premier League fixture was Cardiff’s first since the Argentinian striker’s body was formally identified by an English coroner on Thursday, a day after it was recovered from underwater wreckage in the Channel.
However, after the game video on social media appeared to show two men in the home section of St Mary’s Stadium seemingly making aeroplane gestures in the direction of the away supporters.
Southampton confirmed both fans had been spoken to by police and intended to take "an extremely firm stance" over the incident.
"Southampton Football Club can confirm that two fans were detained and had their details taken by police during our match against Cardiff City on Saturday," said a statement from the club.
"The club will continue to work with Hampshire Police to identify any individuals deemed to have made indecent gestures towards Cardiff supporters.
"Such behaviour has no place in our game and will not be tolerated at St Mary’s.
"The club will be taking an extremely firm stance against anyone involved and intends to ban those supporters identified," the statement added.
The plane carrying Sala from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff, his new club, disappeared near the British island of Guernsey on January 21.
Pilot David Ibbotson remains missing.
Before Saturday’s kick-off there was an impeccably observed minute’s silence at the ground with Cardiff going on to win 2-1 thanks to Kenneth Zohore’s dramatic goal in the third minute of stoppage time which saw them climb out of the relegation zone.