Man faces three-year stadium ban for racial abuse in UK
A 24-year-old British man, Antonio Neill, has been banned from every stadium in the United Kingdom for three years after he racially abused Brentford football star, Ivan Toney, on social media.
English Police have described the ruling as a “landmark ruling,” being the first of its kind to be issued under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act of 2022, according to Sky Sports.
The 24-year-old sent the racist message to Toney on October 14 last year, who shared a picture of the abuse received via his Instagram account. Northumbria Police supported by the Metropolitan Police afterwards, launched a full investigation into the matter.
The message, which officers treated as a hate crime, was traced to a suspect who was then living in the North Shields area and on January 25, Neill, of Robert Street, Blyth, pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message when he appeared before magistrates in Newcastle.
At the same court on Monday (yesterday), Neill was handed a four-month sentence suspended for two years for the online offence as well as a three-year football banning order, which is the first of its kind to be issued under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.
The hate crime lead for Northumbria Police, Superintendent, Scott Cowie, was quoted on Brentford’s website as saying, “Discrimination has absolutely no place in any society, whether out in our communities or online.
“I am therefore delighted that the seriousness of Neill’s offence has been reflected with this banning order, which forbids him from attending any regulated football in the United Kingdom.
“I hope this reinforces our commitment to taking action against anybody who commits a hate crime – it will not be tolerated and we will do all we can to put perpetrators before the courts.
“I would like to thank everyone who played their part in this particular case, including the team of officers who worked tirelessly to secure justice as well as our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police, the UK Football Policing Unit and the Premier League.”
The legislation has therefore widened the scope for banning orders to be issued for online hate crimes relating to a person with a prescribed connection to a football organisation.