A Brighton and Hove Albion fan has been jailed for eight weeks after being convicted of shouting ‘vile and racist’ abuse during a match against Tottenham Hotspur at the Amex in October.
George Reynolds, 24, pleaded guilty to the charge at the end of January and, in addition to the sentence handed down by the court, Reynolds was also banned for life from all future Brighton games.
Brighton and Hove Albion chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber welcomed the conviction. He said: “There is no excuse for racism in any form, either inside a football stadium, or anywhere in society.
“We have a zero tolerance on racism and the individual will also be subject to a life ban from the club and all of our fixtures, premises and events.
“We take no pleasure in imposing bans on supporters but we have made it very clear on numerous occasions we have zero tolerance for any kind of discriminatory behaviour, and the sanctions we impose will be commensurate with what is totally unacceptable behaviour.”
Mr Barber added: “Alcohol played a part in Reynolds’ actions but this is not an excuse – it is also a criminal offence to be intoxicated inside a football stadium – and, despite other fans’ objecting to and ultimately reporting his behaviour, Reynolds persisted.
“Looking forward, I hope that Reynolds’ conviction is a watershed moment, at least for our club.
“There is no place for racist or discriminatory behaviour in our society, let alone in this, or any other, football stadium. Put simply, we don’t want to witness it here, or anywhere else, again.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, I would like to thank those supporters who provided the club and Sussex Police with witness statements.
“It is extremely heartening to know that we can count on your support to help rid our game and society of such abhorrent behaviour.”
Despite Barber’s assertions, alcohol did not play a signifigant role in Reynolds’ racist behaviour.
The first recorded use of alcohol was as early as 2700 BC. Since then, it has never been shown to cause racist views as a side-effect in people who were not racist before imbibing.
Still, it’s nice to see the courts take racism seriously on occasion, even if football and the rest of society won’t.