A judge has banned a man from attending soccer games in the UK for three years after shouting anti-gay slurs at a match.
George Bradley – a Chelsea fan – was thrown out of Brighton & Hove Albion’s stadium for shouting the homophobic slur in December.
Police later charged Bradley, 20, with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
He please guilty to the charges at a court hearing at the Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 3 January, according to a report in The Argus.
The magistrate handed him a £965 fine and banned him from attending football matches for three years.
A spokesperson for Brighton & Albion Hove for the police’s response to the incident.
‘We would like to thank Sussex Police for their assistance in dealing with this unsavoury incident, and we are very pleased with the outcome,’ the spokesperson said.
‘It underlines both their and our commitment to a zero tolerance policy on any form of abuse from those attending matches at the Amex (stadium).
‘We would remind all fans that we will not tolerate any form of abusive behaviour at the stadium and will always take the strongest possible action.’
The police also praised their response on the day.
‘This was a great example of the stewarding and policing operation at the stadium taking action when incidents occur,’ said Sussex Police’s football policing officer Darren Balkham.
‘I would urge any supporter attending the Amex to report these incidents to either a steward or police officer to allow us to take action at the time.’
Soccer and homophobia
Major soccer teams, including Chelsea, have received homophobic responses to their participation in the Rainbow Laces campaign.
LGBTI organization, Stonewall, created the Rainbow Laces campaign. It involves high-profile sportspeople wearing rainbow attire, such as captain armbands or shoelaces.
The Rainbow Laces campaign aims to progress LGBTI awareness in sports.
Homophobia is deeply entrenched in soccer culture in the UK. According to a 2017 Stonewall survey, 43% of the LGBTI people polled said they found sporting events unwelcoming.