Seven Charlton Athletic supporters charged for racist chanting on train
Seven football supporters have been convicted of racially-aggravated chanting in the aftermath of Charlton’s FA Cup match against Fulham in January 2012.
Operation Midas was launched into events on a train between Putney and Waterloo on January 7th following reports from concerned passengers that a group of fans – believed to be Charlton supporters – were being rowdy and intimidating and had been heard chanting racist songs.
Officers immediately launched an investigation and, after working in close collaboration with club officials, were able to quickly identify a number of people in connection with the incident.
Later that month, former Charlton Chief Executive Stephen Kavanagh accompanied British Transport Police (BTP) and Metropolitan Police officers on a series of dawn raids from which nine suspects were arrested.
Seven men were found guilty of racially-aggravated chanting under section four of the Public Order Act of 1986 at Blackfriars Crown Court on Tuesday and were sentenced in Court One on Wednesday afternoon.
Six received custodial sentences ranging from eight months to 18 months, along with eight-year banning orders from football grounds in the United Kingdom. A seventh man received a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, a supervision order and a four-year ban from all UK stadia.
Mick Everett, Charlton’s Head of Operations, welcomed the verdicts.
“Charlton Athletic is widely recognised as one of the most successful football clubs in the country at promoting social inclusion, building community cohesion, and tackling racism,” he said.
“The club was shocked to hear of the rowdy, intimidating behaviour, and the chanting of racist songs on a train by a handful of our supporters.
“Their actions are totally condemned by everyone at the club and indeed, I am sure, by Charlton supporters everywhere.
“We have been a pioneer of anti-racism and anti-discrimination initiatives in football for over 20 years.
“Although this isolated incident does not reflect on the overwhelming majority of our fans, these arrests are a kick in the teeth to everyone associated with the club, who have put so much effort into our campaign over the years.
“British Transport Police should be applauded for the thorough and professional investigation that they have carried out over a long period of time.
“The club will now look to impose additional appropriate sanctions on those involved.”
Charlton were the first football club to actively combat racism by holding a day dedicated to raising issues regarding discrimination at a first-team fixture following the Addicks’ return to The Valley in 1992, and the club provided the driving force behind the inaugural national campaign.
The club’s 21st such annual event, called Red, White and Black Day, will be celebrated at the upcoming home match against Leeds United on Saturday, November 9th (3pm).
In partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Charlton also operate the Charlton Athletic Race and Equality (CARE) partnership, which is based at The Valley.
CARE is the only project of its kind to be led by a professional football club and a local authority, and works with dozens of local organisations.
Dr Michael Seeraj, Head of Equality and Diversity at Charlton Athletic’s Community Trust, added: “CARE has a long and important history, and we are very proud of our track record of working with the many diverse communities who live locally.”
In addition to strong links with the national Kick It Out organisation, Charlton works closely with the Charlton Athletic Community Trust, which works with more than 10,000 youngsters per week across South-East London and Kent, and delivers community cohesion and anti-racism messages.
From Charlton Athletic