Tottenham Hotspur fan Averof Panteli, who threw a banana at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the recent North London derby, has been handed punishment for the racist incident.
The Highbury Corner magistrates court rejected Panteli’s claim that it was not a racist incident, ruling that it was a ‘deliberate action’ and a ‘targeted gesture to throw a banana skin after a goal was scored by a black player’.
They then handed Panteli a £500 fine, increased by £100 because of the racial aspect of the crime, and gave him a four-year ban from all football matches.
However, clearly Aubameyang himself doesn’t feel the punishment was sufficiently severe. He posted a screenshot of the Evening Standard article describing the situation on his Instagram story along with the caption ‘4 years and we start again’ with a thumbs-up and a sad face emoji:
In an apparent follow-up to the post, Aubameyang then published a picture of Raheem Sterling captioned “Speaking up doesn’t always make life easier. But easy never changed anything.”
Sterling himself was caught up in a similar incident recently, with Chelsea supporters caught on camera shouting abuse at him, which the player seemingly later confirmed to be racist.
On the bright side, Tottenham have at least taken action on their end, banning Mr Panteli from their club for life. He’s also since apologised for the incident.
Hopefully, the punishment will dissuade any supporter from doing the same thing in future. However, it does seem wrong that a fan found guilty of a racial incident can ever return to the stands. It’s not so much kicking racism out of football as giving it a time-out.