Football ban order to fan who sent racist insults to footballer Ivan Toney

A fan who racially abused Premier League footballer Ivan Toney online has been banned from every football ground in the country for the first time legally.

Antonio Neill, 24, sent the abusive message to the Brentford striker in October and police launched an investigation after Toney shared it on social media.

The message, which officers treated as a hate crime, was traced to a suspect then living in the North Shields area.

Neill, of Robert Street, Blyth, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message when he appeared at Newcastle Magistrate Court in January.

Northumbria Police said Neill appeared before the same court on Monday and was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a three-year football ban order.

The force said the banning order is the first of its kind to be issued under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

The legislation expanded the scope of banning orders that are issued for online hate crimes that are related to soccer.

Following the case, Superintendent Scott Cowie, Northumbria Police’s chief of hate crimes, said: “Discrimination has no place in any society, whether in our communities or online.

“I am therefore delighted that the seriousness of Neill’s offense has been reflected in this banning order, the first of its kind to be issued in the UK.

“I hope this reinforces our commitment to take action against anyone who commits a hate crime; It will not be tolerated and we will do everything we can to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said: “If you’re going to choose to be vile and abusive to others, doing it behind a computer screen or on your phone doesn’t mean you’ll get away with it, not by a long shot. less”. .

“As this case shows, Northumbria Police can track you down, and I hope this banning order shows how seriously officers take hate matters and paves the way for other offenders to face similar punishment in the future.”

After the case, Brentford FC said: “Court appearances set a strong precedent for anyone else who commits hate crimes and we expect sentences to increase in severity until this type of crime is stamped out.

“Ivan Toney has been subjected to sickening racist abuse on a regular basis, and we want tough action against anyone found guilty of such abuse.”

When Neill admitted to the charge in January, he apologized in court to the player, saying: “I’m disgusted and ashamed and I want to be a better person.”

Toney was called up to the Three Lions squad for the first time in September last year, but did not make the pitch for the Nations League games against Italy and Germany.

Despite his consistent form in the Premier League, he was omitted when Gareth Southgate named his travel group to Qatar.


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