Fan found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra at Anfield
A football fan has been convicted of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra and the club’s supporters in a match at Anfield.
Phillip Gannon, 58, of north Wales, was seen on television doing a racially offensive monkey impression, Liverpool Magistrates’ Court was told.
The incident took place during a match between Liverpool and Manchester United in January this year. Gannon, of Heol Meirion, Barmouth, will be sentenced later.
He was found guilty of two counts of using abusive or insulting words within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused alarm or distress after a two-day trial, and has been given a four-year football banning order.
Rob Girvan, prosecuting, said the incident happened amid a volatile atmosphere at Anfield when the two sides met in an FA Cup fourth-round clash.
It was the first game between the Premier League rivals following an eight-match ban imposed on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez after the FA found him guilty of racially abusing the United defender.
Lord Herman Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out, said: “It is within a club’s jurisdiction to tell a supporter ‘we don’t want you back’ if he or she behaves like this, and they’re well within their rights to give a life ban in certain circumstances.
“Given the context of this fixture based on the previous game in October 2011, it would appear this individual may have been looking to cause a problem.
“However, there is a wider issue at play; what happens to these supporters when they are the subject of banning orders? Is there an opportunity for education and retribution, or do they walk into the arms of far-right groups if they’re not there already? This is something the game must look at.”
Gannon was seen as TV cameras panned over fans in the lower Centenary Stand, where he was sitting with two friends, and he was seen to position his hands under his armpits.
The coverage, which was broadcast worldwide by ITV, spread across Twitter and complaints were subsequently made to police, the court heard.
One trial witness heard Gannon aim a racist slur towards Evra from the stand in French. Gannon, a carpenter and joiner, also repeatedly shouted insults at United fans throughout the game.
From BBC News