“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.”
A judge has banned a football fan from attending professional games in the UK for three years after he shouted abusive, anti-gay language during a recent match.
George Bradley, a 20-year-old Chelsea fan from Greenwich, was ejected from Brighton & Hove’s Albion stadium last month for using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress”.
He pleaded guilty on 3 January at Brighton Magistrates’ Court and was handed a £965 fine, on top of being banned from attending football matches for the next three years.
A spokesperson for Brighton & Albion Hove said: “We would like to thank Sussex Police for their assistance in dealing with this unsavoury incident, and we are very pleased with the outcome.
“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.’
Sussex Police’s football policing offer praised the outcome: “This was a great example of the stewarding and policing operation at the stadium taking action when incidents occur.
“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.”
Earlier this year, Conservative MP Damian Collins announced plans to broaden the 1991 Football Offences Act to include homophobic chanting.
The current legislation makes it illegal to make indecent or racist chants, throw objects inside the premises of a sporting event or go onto the pitch with permission. If the law is broken, a person can face up to a £1,000 fine.
If the law is broadened in the way that Collins is seeking, it would now become illegal to make chants or gestures “of an indecent nature with reference to either sexual orientation or gender identity.”
On his bill, Collins said: “Whilst, if enacted, the bill would protect LGBT+ fans and players in the UK, recent events, including at the World Cup, have once again demonstrated that homophobic abuse takes place at football matches the world over.
“FIFA and other sports governing bodies should take the necessary steps to ensure that homophobic abuse will never be tolerated and that action will be taken against people that engage in activities like these, no matter where the game is played.
“We hope that the bill will soon become law and will contribute to making football a sport that is truly open to everyone.”