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I am sorry for my handcuff gesture’

PUBLISHED: 14:52 05 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:39 16 August 2010

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 02: Tim Cahill of Everton celebrates scoring the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Portsmouth at Goodison Park on March 2, 2008 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 02: Tim Cahill of Everton celebrates scoring the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Portsmouth at Goodison Park on March 2, 2008 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

A TOP footballer has apologised for any offence caused by his controversial goal celebration in tribute to his imprisoned brother.

A TOP footballer has apologised for any offence caused by his controversial goal celebration in tribute to his imprisoned brother.

Everton's Tim Cahill "wholeheartedly" apologised for any offence caused by his 'handcuff' gesture he made in honour of his brother Sean after scoring the second goal against Portsmouth last Sunday.

The gesture is believed to have been in support of his brother Sean who was jailed for six years in January for grievous bodily harm with intent in an incident in East Street, Bromley in 2004.

Sean Cahill skipped bail and fled to his homeland Australia after he was charged with beating victim Chris Stapley leaving him permanently blind in one eye.

Midfielder Tim Cahill said in a statement: "I am aware of the significant media coverage following my unusual goal celebration on Sunday against Portsmouth.

"It was a spontaneous and emotional reaction but was only intended to signify to my brother that I was thinking of him and missing him.

"It was not intended to cause any offence to any other party and I wholeheartedly apologise if any offence was caused."

A spokesman for Everton FC defended the player's behaviour, adding: "Goal celebrations are a personal matter and up to the player to decide.

"No-one dictates what the player can do as long as he stays within the laws of the game and as long as it doesn't result in a caution.

"He is a very articulate young man and will have weighed up the pros and cons and decided to do it because it was a personal and emotional matter.

Former Everton striker Graeme Sharp told BBC Radio 5: "Tim's been through a hard time with the circumstances surrounding his brother and it's just a way of showing his support for him." Mr Stapley has undergone several invasive operations on his right eye in an attempt to improve his vision after the attack.

In a statement read out in court prior to Mr Cahill's sentencing, Mr Stapley said: "From the attack itself, I felt anxious and vulnerable after the incident. Socially I became paranoid, in the beginning I was constantly anxious, and now I realise that I had become depressed.

"The impact of the assault was obviously not just confined to me. It affected my friends and family. I really feel for my parents too, because in many ways it seemed as though it was almost worse for them than me. They had to watch me go through everything I have been through, and I think that they have felt fairly powerless and lost at times as they have tried to support and look after me.

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