A Tottenham fan who chanted homophobic abuse during a Premier League game at Chelsea has been fined £300 after being convicted of a hate crime.
Nigel Carrington, 53, chanted two homophobic slurs towards Chelsea fans during the match at Stamford Bridge on January 23 2022.
On Friday at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Carrington pleaded guilty to two counts of using abusive and insulting words to cause harassment and distress.
Carrington, from South Benfleet in Essex, was sentenced at the same court where the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) applied for an uplifted sentence to take into account the hate crime element in this case. He received a £150 fine for each count, increased from £100 for both counts and £85 in costs as well as a £34 victim surcharge.
Luke Staton, from the CPS, said: “No football fan should have to be subjected to vile homophobic abuse while watching a game that they love.
“These homophobic slurs are not harmless banter – they are unacceptable in this day and age and have a significant impact on LGBTQ+ communities.
“The CPS is absolutely committed to stamping out this type of behaviour. Hate crime has no place within society, let alone sport, and we will always aim to prosecute offenders.”
The CPS is currently working with the police, clubs, player bodies and organisations, like the Premier League, the English Football League and the Football Association to explain what evidence is required to charge.
Douglas Mackay, of the CPS, said: “Homophobic chanting excludes fans and players from enjoying the sport by demonstrating they are not welcome at their club. Nothing is less inclusive than that and it brings real damage to the heart of the game.
“The CPS has made clear to the police, football authorities, clubs and players that well-known homophobic slurs could be prosecuted as a hate crime, along with any other discriminatory language. Because we take hate crime so seriously, we will always ask for harsher sentences in these cases.
“If you see or hear any of this unacceptable behaviour, report it to the police, who will investigate. If the legal test is met, we will not hesitate to take people to court so that justice is served.”
DC Phil Dickinson of the Met Police Public Order Crime Teams says: “There is no place for homophobia or any hate crime in football and that anyone attending should be able to enjoy the event, without fear of the actions of others. Anyone who is a victim or witness of any hate crime should report the matter to stadium staff or police and it will be investigated.”
Tracy Brown, chair of Chelsea Pride, said: “Myself, Chelsea pride and the wider LGBTQ+ football community worked very hard to get confirmation the homophobic chant is considered a hate crime.
“Today having found out that a fan did plead guilty to this homophobic chant I feel the work that’s been done finally has some reward. We however need to continue working hard to keep homophobia, biphobia and transphobia out of football and society. We will keep pushing to educate fans and to have those fans prosecuted who believe this behaviour is okay. It’s never okay.”
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